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US contractors test futuristic drone aboard US Navy’s stealth destroyer

U.S. contractors with Shield AI conduct a test flight of a V-BAT unmanned aerial system aboard the Zumwalt-class stealth destroyer USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) during RIMPAC 2022 exercise.

“This is another big step forward towards Shield AI’s goal of putting a swarm of V-BATs on every US and allied naval vessel — destroyers, amphibs, carriers, patrol craft — in the world,” said the company.

A cutting-edge, futuristic-looking drone was developed by the Shield AI company as vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft system (UAS).

The V-BAT is a rapidly deployable, GPS-denied navigation-capable, expeditionary VTOL system capable of persistent aerial reconnaissance.

Shield AI says the V-BAT, with its innovative, near-zero footprint vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) and long-endurance capabilities, is unlike any UAS on the market today. Propelled by a single, ducted, thrust-vectored fan, it takes off and lands in the style of a SpaceX rocket.

The V-BAT also is designed with sufficient payload capacity to carry a range of interchangeable payloads, including electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR), synthetic aperture radar (SAR), and electronic warfare (EW) payloads, depending on mission-specific requirements.

The USS Michael Monsoor (DDG 1001) is the second ship of the three-ship Zumwalt class of guided missile destroyers. The Zumwalt-class was designed as a multi-mission surface combatant for land attack and littoral operations with a mission of supporting both ground campaigns and the joint/naval battlespace.