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Northrop Grumman-Shield AI Team Joins US Army Contest to Replace RQ-7B Shadow

V-BAT unmanned aerial

system

Northrop Grumman-Shield AI Team Joins US Army Contest to Replace RQ-7B Shadow

The U.S. Army has awarded Northrop Grumman a contract with a seven-week base period to participate in Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Increment 2, a contest to replace the RQ-7B Shadow tactical unmanned aerial system. Northrop is teaming up with Shield AI, the developer of the V-BAT UAS.

V-BAT is a reconnaissance drone designed to support U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps operations. It is meant to be capable of launch and recovery by a two-soldier team in contested environments.

According to a press release, Northrop and Shield AI will work on an enhanced version of the V-BAT aircraft, which will feature a modular, open system architecture. The upgraded V-BAT will also be capable of carrying surveillance and electronic warfare payloads, Northrop said.

Other participants in the FTUAS Increment 2 competition include AeroVironment, Griffon Aerospace, Sierra Nevada Corp. and Textron Systems. The Army seeks a platform capable of point takeoff and landing, runway independence and rapid deployment.

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