Texas-based Martin UAV unveiled its latest UAS, the V-BAT 128, on 30 March.
Intended for applications ranging from surveillance and firefighting to search and rescue and logistic resupply, the aircraft features increases in power, payload and endurance, all of which were previously demonstrated at the US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE). Over the course of several weeks, the V-BAT 128 flew numerous missions, showcasing its VTOL capabilities and the versatility of its small footprint. One of the prominent features noted by participants was the aircraft’s ability to transition from take-off to a vertical hover, and its persistent stare capability while maintaining a sensor line of sight, even in difficult terrain.
“Martin UAV continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for unmanned aircraft systems,” commented Heath Niemi, Chief Development Officer. “We have listened to the customer and expanded the capabilities and agility of the V-BAT 128, delivering technology that serves a wider range of mission needs [The aircraft now provides] more power and payload that can be transported in the bed of a pick-up truck, or, inside a BLACK HAWK.”
The V-BAT 128 is designed to make transportation and rapid tactical deployment easier in both defence and commercial applications – it can be assembled by two operators in less than 30 minutes. The aircraft’s duct fan propulsion design provides for excellent operational safety by eliminating exposed rotors, which are commonly found in propeller-driven VTOLs.
The V-BAT 128 is ideal for take-off and landing on both stationary and moving platforms, in areas with a footprint of less than 12x12 feet. The upgraded V-BAT provides a significantly enhanced payload capacity of 25lbs, and interchangeable payloads to meet mission-specific requirements. Increased endurance of up to 11 hours, and higher thrust, were made possible by leveraging a more powerful engine, the Suter TOA 288. With a wingspan of 9.7ft, the V-BAT 128 can reach over 90kts, reaching altitudes of 20,000 feet.