BAE Systems has secured a contract to provide autonomy and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Squad X programme.

The contract was awarded by the DARPA Squad X programme’s prime contractor Lockheed Martin.

Autonomy and artificial intelligence capabilities will help advance the effectiveness of tactical robotic air and ground vehicles.

At a small-unit level, these capabilities will help create partnerships between ground soldiers, marines and machines.

Under the $3.5m Squad X award, work will be performed at the BAE Systems’ facilities in Burlington, Massachusetts, and Arlington, Virginia.

The aim of the DARPA Squad X programme is to design, develop and validate autonomous system prototypes.

Squad X aims to equip these with sensing tools and technologies, enhancing squads’ situational awareness.

The autonomous systems will permit squads to increase their battlespace and area of influence.

Squad X is composed of the complementary Squad X Experimentation and Squad X Core Technologies programme.

BAE Systems’ FAST Labs research and development organisation will offer Mission Intelligence for Tactical Systems (MITS) advanced sensor fusion, artificial intelligence and autonomy.

Reducing the cognitive load on partner warfighters, the highly automated MITS can direct mobile robots and their sensor payloads.

MITS combines sensor data, constructs and shares battlefield awareness with the personnel on the battlefield.

Providing tactical electronic and kinetic support, MITS-synthesised awareness allows soldiers to make more informed decisions.

BAE Systems Autonomy, Controls, and Estimation group product line director Chris Eisenbies said: “Autonomy technology, be it in the air, space, sea, or ground domain, is all about making better decisions faster to allow our warfighters to more effectively execute their missions as safely as possible.

“We look forward to the prospects of providing this advantage to those in the field.”