Brazil moves to acquire the V-BAT drone

Shield AI has announced that it has signed a contract with VSK Tactical, through reseller and facilitator Contingent Global, to provide Brazil with V-BAT 128 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

The contract was signed at the V-BAT manufacturing facility in Dallas, Texas on January 21. Later this year, Shield AI and VSK Tactical will complete V-BAT demonstrations on land and sea in Brazil for the Brazilian Army and Navy.

V-BAT unmanned system
The V-BAT, capable of VTOL flight, will be acquired by Brazil to boost its uncrewed surveillance capabilities for its military. Shield AI

"VSK believes that V-BAT is the perfect platform that can monitor and provide surveillance of extensive areas of Brazilian borders, with dense areas of forests, numerous areas of aquatic spaces such as lakes, lagoons, rivers, beaches, littoral and coastal regions, as well as assisting homeland security to carry on its duties," said Vinicius Bocaiuva, CEO of VSK.

The V-BAT UAS is propelled by a single, ducted, thrust-vectored fan and capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) flight, and has low operational logistical footprint for carriage inside a Black Hawk helicopter to enable rapid deployment.

In July 2021 Shield AI reached an agreement to acquire Martin UAV, which saw the former company work to integrate its Hivemind autonomy software into the latter’s V-BAT UAS.

The V-BAT has more than two years of operational experience at sea in support of SOUTHCOM, the US Marine Corps, and international customers. In April 2021, the US Navy selected the V-BAT as winner of its Mi2 technology demonstrator programme, which was aimed at exploring the use cases of unmanned systems in extreme operating environments.

In September last year Northrop Grumman and Martin UAV, by that time a Shield AI company, completed flight testing of the V-BAT with GPS-denied navigation and target designation capabilities as part of work being conducted for the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) programme.

For FTUAS, the US Army is seeking a rapidly deployable, GPS-denied navigation-capable, expeditionary VTOL system capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance for US Army Brigade Combat Teams, Special Forces, and Ranger battalions.

Meanwhile, in October 2021 Shield AI began its Multi-Mission Tactical UAS Increment 2 (Mi2) prototype effort with the US Naval Air Warfare Centre Aircraft Division (NAWCAD), intended to deliver a fill Mi2 prototype version of its V-BAT UAS to the US government for operational testing and acceptance.