BAE's US arm joins DARPA unmanned mission task program

BAE Systems' U.S. subsidiary has received a pair of contracts worth $5.4 million combined to join a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program in search of technology to help unmanned aircraft conduct multiple mission tasks at once.

BAE Systems Inc. announced its awards Monday, nearly three months after DARPA gave out the initial contracts to five companies at an approximate combined value of $8 million. Deltek lists those first awardees as including General Atomics, Northrop Grumman, Rockwell Collins, Systems & Technology Research and Vencore.

DARPA started the CONverged Collaborative Elements for RF Task Operations program to find tools that could help drones use single, multifunction payloads to carry out more than one function at a time.

The agency envisions converged systems as able to switch between different missions in intelligence, networking, command-and-control and combat operations without physical payload changes.

For BAE's part, the company will focus on how to build up radio frequency functions of hardware so missions can be done with the same components. BAE will also work to develop a virtual RF processing engine with the ability to quickly reconfigure into different and simultaneous operating modes.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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