Martin UAV has partnered with the United States Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC) to test its V-BAT UAS (unmanned aerial system) on board a Coast Guard cutter vessel in the Department of Defense’s SOUTHCOM area of responsibility.
The trials, which mark the first time that an unmanned aircraft of this type has been evaluated during an operational Coast Guard patrol, are part of an effort to assess how Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) medium-range UAS capabilities might be used to support Coast Guard operations, including Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. The data gathered during these tests will also be used to refine possible concepts of operations and determine requirements for installing and integrating VTOL UAS across current and future Coast Guard cutter classes.
Stephen Dunn, RDC aviation research scientist, commented: “UAS technology has already proven to be a gamechanger for the Coast Guard. It impacts timelines for obtaining a statement of no objection for boarding vessels, provides situational awareness for boarding crews prior to embarking on targets of interest and provides a better covert means for tracking targets of interest, resulting in enhanced maritime domain awareness and mission execution. The VTOL system takes things a step further by reducing the footprint of the UAS for future Coast Guard cutter employment.”