BAE Systems has won the Excellence Award for Research and Development for its significant contributions to the defence sector through a series of contract wins that underscore its commitment to advancing military capabilities with innovative technologies. The company’s research and development efforts, spearheaded by its FAST Labs organisation, have been instrumental in securing these contracts, which collectively aim to enhance various aspects of military operations, from air operations planning to satellite intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR).

Enhancing mission planning with AI for AFRL

One of the key contracts awarded to BAE Systems, valued at approximately $17m, is from the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based solution for air operations planners. The initiative, part of the AFRL’s Fight Tonight programme, is designed to streamline the air operations planning process, particularly in contested environments.

By introducing AI technology into an interactive game environment, BAE Systems aims to provide mission planners with tools to expedite the planning of complex air combat missions. The technology promises to reduce manual planning cycles and offer a more interactive user interface, allowing planners to quickly assess and finalise the most suitable plans for their missions.

FalconWorks: Pioneering combat air capabilities

In addition to the AFRL contract, BAE Systems launched FalconWorks, a research and development centre focused on advancing combat air capabilities. FalconWorks is set to drive innovation by harnessing technologies such as AI, quantum sensing, and robotics.

The division will build upon BAE Systems’ expertise in combat air programmes such as Typhoons, F-35, and Tempest to deliver technologies that maintain a competitive edge for air forces.

Autonomous satellite, and next-generation radar and communications: DARPA contracts

Furthermore, BAE Systems’ FAST Labs was awarded a $7m contract by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the Oversight autonomous satellite target custody programme. The project aims to develop an autonomous system capable of overseeing assets across diverse satellite constellations, enhancing the tactical significance of US space systems.

Another notable contract win for BAE Systems is the support of DARPA’s GRYPHON programme with a $17.5m contract to develop technology for next-generation radar and communications systems. The technology aims to combine the agility of digital electronics with the bandwidth and stability of photonics, providing accurate microwave sources in a compact form factor.

These contracts reflect BAE Systems’ strategic focus on multi-domain integration and the importance of data and information in modern warfare. The company’s efforts align with the sentiments expressed by the UK Minister of the Armed Forces, James Heappey, at the Chief of the Air Staff’s Air and Space Power Conference, where he highlighted the significance of bundling existing assets into a coherent force serving all domains.

BAE Systems’ recent successes in securing these contracts demonstrate the company’s ability to respond to the evolving needs of the defence industry. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and fostering collaboration, BAE Systems is well-positioned to deliver solutions that address the challenges of modern military operations and support the mission readiness of its customers.

Company Profile

BAE Systems delivers an array of advanced, technology-led solutions in defence, aerospace, and security. With a workforce of approximately 100,000 professionals, the company boasts a global presence across more than 40 countries, underpinning its commitment to protecting national security and ensuring the safety of people worldwide. BAE Systems prides itself on its collaborative approach, partnering with customers and local entities to engineer, produce, and sustain products and systems that bolster military capabilities. The company holds dominant market positions in the US, the UK, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Australia, and maintains substantial roles in various other international markets.

BAE Systems is proactive in assimilating emerging technologies, investing strategically to preserve its leadership in military, aerospace, and security domains. Collaborations with academia and industry pioneers are central to the company’s strategy, fostering new technological advancements that align with future product strategies and drive sustainable business growth.

The company has an ambitious target of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

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