Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System

Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System

Persistent Battlespace Awareness

soldier lifting an unmanned aerial vehicle

Transformational Capability to Arm Warfighters with Information

The modern battlespace is inherently dynamic, expansive, and operationally complex. To maintain decisive advantage, warfighters must understand their situation, determine a plan and act. They require a new, highly mobile, flexible and adaptable next-generation overhead reconnaissance capability that provides persistent situational awareness.

Northrop Grumman, teamed with Shield AI, has been selected by the U.S. Army to participate in the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) Increment 2 competition to replace the long-serving RQ-7B Shadow UAS. The FTUAS program calls for an easily and rapidly deployable vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS delivering advanced reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition capabilities to Brigade Combat Teams (BCTs) and Special Forces/Ranger battalions.

Photo Caption: Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell Ky. participate in the FTUAS Rodeo with the Shield AI V-BAT. (Photo courtesy of US Army) “The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

Helicopter parked on grass with supplies inside

Innovation + Experience

Northrop Grumman is teamed with Shield AI, the designer and manufacturer of the innovative V-BAT unmanned aircraft platform, to provide a unique solution to the Army’s FTUAS mission requirements. Bringing more than 30 years of experience in the development, production and sustainment of UASs to this mission, our team is delivering a high-performance expeditionary, near-zero footprint, flexible VTOL capability that builds on the combat-proven V-BAT.

Photo Caption: A Shield AI V-BAT 128 aboard a UH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter. (Photo courtesy Shield AI)

unmanned aircraft taking off
The V-BAT is simple to set up, launch, operate and recover in austere and confined landing zones. (Photo courtesy Shield AI)
technical drawing of aircraft

Functionality to Support the Army’s Mission

Northrop Grumman and Shield AI will deliver a broad array of features and functionality aboard Shield AI’s V-BAT. The system will be tailored to address the Army’s priority requirements in support of this critical mission.

View FTUAS Infographic
unmanned aircraft taking off

Mission Ready, with Future Adaptability

The advanced V-BAT system is lightweight, easy to transport and simple to set up, launch, operate and recover in austere and confined landing zones, as small as 15’ x 15’ and surrounded by tall obstacles. The V-BAT excels in urban, mountainous, maritime, and dense forest environments. The platform features:

  • Increased power
  • Reduced logistics requirements
  • GPS-denied navigation
  • Capacity to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including:
    • Electro-optical/infra-red
    • Synthetic aperture radar
    • Electronic Warfare

Our modular, open system approach (MOSA) architecture design offers long-term adaptability – including the potential integration of weapons systems – ensuring V-BAT’s capabilities remain ahead of evolving technology and threats.

Our FTUAS V-BAT was designed from the ground up for VTOL operations and integrates Army Scalable Control Interface (SCI) standards. It is the high-performance system required by high-performance Warfighters, and it embodies the Northrop Grumman and Shield AI team’s dedication to increasing the situational awareness and effectiveness of BCTs and Special Forces/Ranger Battalions.

Photo Caption: Northrop Grumman has been chosen by the U.S. Army to participate in Increment 2 of the Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (FTUAS) program. With teammate Shield AI, Northrop Grumman is developing an enhanced-capability version of the innovative V-BAT aircraft, shown in this rendering, to replace the Army’s long-serving RQ-7B Shadow tactical UAS.

Related Information

illustration of concept for Future Vertical Lift

Future Vertical Lift

Northrop Grumman is supporting the U.S. Army as they modernize their aviation fleet.

man standing in front of an airplane inside of an airplane hangar

Sustainment and Modernization

Delivering uninterrupted mission readiness. Enabling mission success.

In the News

aircraft lifting off a US Naval ship

Northrop Grumman to Design Autonomous Vertical Takeoff and Landing Aircraft for DARPA

Army Uncrewed Aircraft Systems Project Office shield logo

Army Awards FTUAS Option 1

Source: DVIDS News

Future tactical Unmanned aircraft in air

US Army Selects Northrop Grumman, Teamed with Shield AI, for Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System Prototype

US Army FTUAS logo

U.S. Army Awards FTUAS Inc. 2 Agreements

Source: U.S. Army News By LTC Olin Walters and MAJ Jon Lilja

unmanned aircraft flying upward in blue sky

Northrop Grumman and Martin UAV Conduct Successful Flight Test for Future Tactical Unmanned Aircraft

Media Contacts

Kelly Ayers
Northrop Grumman

Lily Hinz
Shield AI