Enhanced V-BAT completes flight testing

Northrop Grumman and Shield AI-owned Martin UAV have completed flight testing of a V-BAT unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with new features including GPS-denied navigation and target designation capabilities.

The US Army is looking to procure a new, rapidly deployable, GPS-denied navigation-capable, UAS for its Brigade Combat Teams, Special Forces, and Ranger battalions under its Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) programme, with the V-BAT one of the likely contenders.

Enhanced V-BAT
The V-BAT's vertical take-off and landing provides it with a small operational footprint, ideal for expeditionary warfare. Northrop Grumman

“The enhanced V-BAT offers a near zero footprint, flexible vertical take-off and landing capability that is based on a platform deployed operationally today, to address the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System mission,” said Kenn Todorov, sector vice president and general manager, global sustainment and modernisation, Northrop Grumman.

The offering is based on Martin UAV’s V-BAT UAS, which can be operated by a team of two personnel and is designed to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR), synthetic aperture radar, and electronic warfare capabilities.

Additionally, Shield AI’s recent acquisition of Martin UAV will enable development of GPS-denied and autonomy capabilities for the V-BAT through the future porting of Shield AI’s autonomy stack, Hivemind onto the system.