It was revealed by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (OUSD(R&E)) on 19 July.
The APFIT pilot programme aims to expeditiously transition and deliver technologies to the warfighters.
Under this programme, the DoD will initially procure the Shield AI ‘s V-BAT uncrewed aircraft systems (UASs) to provide resilient data transport capabilities.
The UAS will also be deployed to locate and provide weapon-quality targeting information as part of the Joint Sensing Grid to Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2).
Shield AI president, co-founder and former Navy SEAL Brandon Tseng said: “For warfighters, they will not have to wait the average four-six years to receive new tools and products to do their jobs more effectively.
“For Shield AI and V-BAT, selection by a joint-strategic office like OUSD R&E alongside its selection for SOCOM and Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s multi-mission tactical UAS programme last year – in addition to ongoing deployments with Marine Expeditionary Units in support of Force Design 2030 and widespread adoption with international programme offices – it’s further proof that V-BAT is a very special aircraft.”
Shield AI ‘s V-BAT is a semi-autonomous, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), long-loiter and landing-capable UAS with modular payload capability.
It can operate in high-wind conditions with long-endurance capabilities and has a near-zero footprint.
The V-BAT is propelled by a single, thrust-vectored, ducted fan and is a cost-effective solution for various military missions.