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September 2, 2021updated 29 Oct 2021 8:56am

Northrop and Martin UAV complete flight test for future tactical drone

The UAS system is designed to modernise US Army’s reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities.

Northrop Grumman and US-based advanced aviation technology manufacturer Martin UAV have completed the flight testing of a V-BAT uncrewed aircraft system (UAS).

The UAS features a newly added global positioning system (GPS)-denied navigation and target designation capabilities.

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

“The team brings more than 30 years’ experience in the production, delivery and sustainment of unmanned aircraft systems to support this critical mission today and into the future.”

For the FTUAS mission, the US Army is looking for a quickly deployable, expeditionary VTOL system.

The US Army is seeking a system that is capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance for the service’s Brigade Combat Teams, Special Forces, and Ranger battalions.

According to the company, the offering is based on the Martin UAV V-BAT UAS, which is compact, lightweight, and easy to operate.

The V-BAT UAS can be set up, launched and recovered by a two-soldier team in complex environments and is designed with sufficient payload capacity.

It can carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR), synthetic aperture radar, and electronic warfare payloads.

Furthermore, US defence technology contractor Shield AI’s recent acquisition of Martin UAV will enable integration of combat-proven autonomy software ‘Hivemind’ into the V-BAT.

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