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Northrop Grumman and Martin UAV conduct successful flight test for future tactical unmanned aircraft

September 8, 2021  - By

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

The enhanced V-BAT’s flexible vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capability is based on a platform deployed to address the U.S. Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) mission. For FTUAS, the U.S. Army is seeking a rapidly deployable, GPS-denied navigation-capable, expeditionary VTOL system capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance for U.S. Army brigade combat teams, special forces, and Ranger battalions.

The offering is based on Martin’s UAV V-BAT UAS. According to Northrop Grumman, it is compact, lightweight, simple to operate, and can be set up, launched and recovered by a two-soldier team in confined environments. The V-BAT also is designed with sufficient payload capacity to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and electronic warfare (EW) payloads, depending on mission-specific requirements. Additionally, Shield AI’s recent acquisition of Martin UAV will enable rapid development of GPS-denied and autonomy capabilities for V-BAT through the future porting of Shield AI’s autonomy stack, Hivemind, onto V-BAT.

Northrop Grumman and Martin UAV conduct flight testing of Martin UAV’s V-BAT aircraft for the US Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System effort in Camp Grafton, North Dakota. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

Northrop Grumman and Martin UAV conduct flight testing of Martin UAV’s V-BAT aircraft for the U.S. Army’s Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System effort in Camp Grafton, North Dakota. (Photo: Northrop Grumman)

About the Author:


Matteo Luccio possesses 20 years of experience as a writer and editor for GNSS and geospatial technology magazines. He began his career in the industry in 2000, serving as managing editor of GPS World and Galileo’s World, then as editor of Earth Observation Magazine and GIS Monitor. His technical articles have been published in more than 20 professional magazines, including Professional Surveyor Magazine, Apogeo Spatial and xyHt. Luccio holds a master’s degree in political science from MIT. He can be reached at mluccio@gpsworld.com or 541-543-0525.

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