The Navy selected Martin UAV and its V-BAT for a vertical take-off and landing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) prototyping effort as a result of the Mi2 Challenge concluding this month.
Originally, 13 companies responded to the Navy’s Mi2 Challenge, which the service down-selected to two vendors for the Phase 2 live demonstration event at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona: Martin UAV and L3Harris Technologies [LHX].
The Mi2 Challenge was run by Naval Air Warfare Center Air Division (NAWCAD) AIRWorks along with NAWCAD’s partner helping with experimentation and technology demonstrations, IMPAX.
The down-selected tests occurred between November 30 and December 18 last year. According to the Navy, the Mi2 Challenge aimed to accelerate the identification and evaluation of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) capable of operating in austere deployed environments without ancillary support systems.”
The end result of the competition is the expected awarding of an Other Transaction Award prototype project for an undisclosed amount.
Martin UAV said this competition included “technology questionnaires, performance summaries, and in-depth supporting artifacts in accordance with established criteria, sought maximum portability, self-sufficiency and modularity in UAS hardware and payload capabilities without the need for ancillary support equipment.”
The company boasted its V-BAT option was chosen as a result of its minimal logistic support requirements and versatility. It can conduct a vertical takeoff with a single-engine ducted fan, automatic transition to straight and level flight, can be made to easily hover, has interchangeable payloads, and an open architecture system.
“Martin UAV’s V-BAT was designed to address the needs of the warfighter in an ever-changing landscape and is now an integral part of reshaping mission requirements and capability offerings to better equip the Navy in future operations,” Heath Niemi, Martin UAV’s chief development officer, said in a statement
“The awarding of this opportunity does not just benefit Martin and its partners, it truly benefits the warfighter and everyone involved in support of defense mission sets, and we couldn’t be more appreciative of the opportunity,” Niemi added.
Martin UAV argued the V-BAT aircraft is the only single-engine ducted fan VTOL with the ability to launch and recover from a hover, fly up to 11 hours in horizontal flight and make mid-flight transitions to ‘hover and stare’ at any time in a given mission set.
The company also noted V-BAT is already currently deployed around the work to support the Defense Department. This includes use by U.S. Army’s Future Tactical UAS program, U.S. Southern Command and the Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the U.S. Marine Corps with an expeditionary unit, and the U.S. Coast Guard.