BAE on Autonomous Capabilities For Future Vertical Lift (FVL)

To combat the increasingly complex, contested, and communication-denied battlespace presented by near-peer adversaries, the U.S. Army is seeking game changing technologies for the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program. This includes an automated system to offload the cognitive burden of pilots while enabling them to command teams of unmanned aircraft. This will enable humans to move from “operator” of one system to “manager” of many.

In a recent Q&A, spoke with Graham Ward, director of FVL strategy for BAE Systems about advancing manned and unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capabilities that are expected to be critical components in Army Aviation’s future operations. BAE Systems is engaged on multiple U.S. Army contracts to advance manned and unmanned teaming (MUM-T) capabilities.

In the same way unmanned systems relieve humans from dirty, dull, and dangerous tasks, autonomy software can relieve human operators from mentally taxing tasks. The sheer number of sensors already on the battlefield can provide enough information to drown an operator in data. Autonomy algorithms that fuse and correlate data can reduce the workload and human error.
For the Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) and Future Long Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA) programs, autonomy has the potential to aid in fusing data from a multitude of sensors and other data sources, or it could be used to provide an optionally-piloted aircraft solution. These methods help provide FVL operators with the data they need in contested environments. Please visit for the full interview. Graphic and Graham Ward photo courtesy of BAE.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in their  # 21 - 25 - 8 OCTOBER 2021 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN).

David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send David a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.