Northrop Grumman Developing Replacement for Army's Long-Serving Drones

The company is teamed with Shield AI, designer and manufacturer of the V-BAT platform.

Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC), teamed with Shield AI, has been chosen by the U.S. Army to participate in the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) competition, Increment 2, to replace the long-serving RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS).

Under a seven-week base period contract, the Northrop Grumman-led team will define the modular open-system architecture of an enhanced V-BAT aircraft, including the integration of advanced surveillance and electronic warfare (EW) payloads. The V-BAT UAS is an innovative, agile, compact and lightweight platform that a combat team of two soldiers can rapidly launch and recover in challenging and on-the-move environments.

“Our team’s enhanced V-BAT embodies more than 30 years of experience designing, delivering and sustaining advanced unmanned aircraft systems, combined with a field-proven platform and production facilities,” said Angela Johns, vice president, autonomous and tactical air systems, Northrop Grumman. “We bring a unique perspective and capabilities to this critical Army mission.”

Northrop Grumman is teamed with Shield AI, designer and manufacturer of the V-BAT platform, to provide best-in-class solutions for an expeditionary vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAS, capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance for U.S. Army Brigade Combat Teams, Special Forces and Ranger battalions. As a Future Vertical Lift program, the FTUAS is the Army’s premier VTOL unmanned aircraft modernization effort.

Earlier versions of the V-BAT have supported operations for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps since 2016. The new enhanced V-BAT is simple to operate, has increased power, a reduced logistics tail and capacity to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including electro-optical/infra-red, synthetic aperture radar and EW systems, offering long-term adaptability and life cycle management.

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