Shield AI has been selected to receive funding under the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) accelerate procurement and fielding of innovative technologies (APFIT) pilot programme.

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.

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“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.

Recently, Shield AI secured additional investments under the Series E fundraising round and increased its valuation to $2.3bn.