Boeing has awarded a contract to BAE Systems to supply the vehicle management control system and identification friend or foe (IFF) system for the MQ-25 unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

With the contract, BAE Systems is the latest company to join the industry team for the US Navy’s MQ-25 project.

MQ-25 is the navy’s first operational carrier-based unmanned aircraft. The aircraft will provide refuelling capabilities to help extend the combat range of F/A-18 Super Hornet, EA-18G Growler and F-35C fighters.

BAE Systems Military Aircraft Systems director Corin Beck said: “BAE Systems leads the industry in high-integrity fly-by-wire and mission-critical IFF technologies. Our relationship with Boeing started more than four decades ago and has resulted in aircraft that have some of the most advanced avionics and reduced size transponders in the world.”

The role of the vehicle management control system will be to control all flight surfaces and take care of overall vehicle management duties for the UAV.

BAE Systems’ IFF system will identify both coalition and enemy aircraft to enable operation in contested environments.

Boeing is under an engineering and manufacturing development contract to provide four MQ-25 aircraft to the navy.

Boeing MQ-25 programme director Dave Bujold said: “The MQ-25 programme is vital because it will help the US Navy extend the range of the carrier air wing, and Boeing and our industry team is all-in on delivering this capability.

“The work we’re doing is also foundational for the future of Boeing, where we’re building autonomous systems from seabed to space.”

In addition, Boeing has awarded contracts to GE Aviation and Parker Aerospace.

“We’re building autonomous systems from seabed to space.”

GE Aviation will supply a stores management solution for the MQ-25 programme. Parker Aerospace is required to supply flight control tail actuation.

Other companies to have received contracts for the programme include Harris, Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions, and Cubic Mission Solutions.