Space systems technology solutions provider LinQuest has secured a task order to support the US Air Force Research Laboratory’s (AFRL) Skyborg Vanguard Programme.

With an initial ceiling value of $48m, the order is for one of the company’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III contracts.

Awarded on 31 January, the task order has a performance period of five years.

LinQuest president and CEO Tim Dills said: “LinQuest is excited to work with AFRL to facilitate the rapid development and integration of new technologies, solutions, and innovations into the Skyborg architecture.

“As we fast-track this programme in cooperation with Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), we help to ensure overall mission success.”

Vanguard programmes are focused on advancing emerging weapon systems and warfighting concepts, as well as providing warfighters with new capabilities.

The US Air Force’s Skyborg project seeks to address costs and deliver advanced capabilities in the form of more affordable uncrewed combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs).

Skyborg is an autonomous aircraft teaming architecture that will provide superior situational awareness and survivability to the crewed teammates during combat missions in disputed environments.

Skyborg programme manager Ben Tran said: “LinQuest has proven its ability to combine relevant operations domain expertise with outstanding decision support tools and innovative analytical methodologies that continue to exceed the demanding requirements of the Skyborg Vanguard. We’re excited to once again partner with them in this next phase of the Skyborg programme.”

Last year in February, LinQuest won an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract from the US Space Force (USSF) for analysis support.

Last year, a Skyborg autonomy core system (ACS) flew onboard a General Atomics MQ-20 Avenger tactical uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV).