BAE Systems and QinetiQ have signed an agreement to collaborate on autonomous uncrewed air systems (UAS) and mission management systems.

Announced at DSEI 2023 in London, the framework agreement will explore the potential to develop a family of UAS to support interoperability with existing and future crewed and uncrewed systems.

The autonomous mission management system will allow operators to use both crewed and uncrewed systems on the battlefield, managed by a central human decision maker.

Under the framework agreement each company will continue to develop their own UAS aligned to a common product strategy that will enable effective collaboration on existing and future crewed and uncrewed platform concept development.

Dave Holmes, managing director of FalconWorks, the advanced research and technology division for BAE Systems’ Air business, said, “The UK and other nations want to field high performance uncrewed air systems capable of delivering military effects across a range of operational scenarios.  Our agreement with QinetiQ will see us work together to deliver this capability to our customers.”

Mick Andrae, global campaign director, robotics & autonomous systems, QinetiQ, added, “Our customers have a growing need to increase combat mass, protect lives and reduce costs. Our collaboration with BAE Systems enables future mission-critical operations to be conducted without the traditional costs associated. All of this will provide our customers with better intelligence, protection and capability to defend against adversaries and protect our national interests.”

The framework agreement will see BAE Systems and QinetiQ continue to work together with the relevant regulatory bodies to help develop the appropriate clearance processes for autonomous systems.

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