Martin UAV has launched the new upgraded version of its VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) unmanned aerial system (UAS), the V-BAT 128. The new platform is designed for both defense and commercial use, including search and rescue, firefighting, logistic resupply, and energy and oil and gas operations.
The V-BAT 128 is designed to make transportation and rapid tactical deployment of the aircraft easier, and can be assembled by two personnel in less than 30 minutes. The aircraft’s duct fan propulsion design enhances operational safety by eliminating exposed rotors, which are commonly found in propeller-driven VTOLs.
The new VTOL UAV is ideal for takeoff and landing on both stationary and moving platforms, and can operate from a footprint of less than 12 feet by 12 feet. It features an enhanced payload capacity of 25 lbs and interchangeable payloads to meet mission-specific requirements. Upgrading the engine to a Suter TOA 288 has provided the aircraft with increased endurance of up to 11 hours, and higher thrust. With a wingspan of 9.7 feet, the V-BAT 128 can reach over 90 knots and altitudes of 20,000 feet.
The upgraded version of the V-BAT has previously been demonstrated at the 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. A particular feature noted by those involved in the exercise is the aircraft’s ability to transition from take-off to a vertical hover and persistent stare capability while maintaining a sensor line of sight, in spite of difficult terrain.
Heath Niemi, Martin UAV’s chief development officer, commented: “Martin UAV continues to push the boundaries of what is possible for unmanned aircraft systems. 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. We’re proud to make the V-BAT 128 available to the broader market and to provide more power and payload that can be transported in the bed of a pick-up truck, or, inside a Black Hawk.”