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Martin UAV kicks off Mi2 prototype project

Martin UAV has commenced its Multi-Mission Tactical Unmanned Air System (MTUAS) Increment 2 (Mi2) prototype effort with the US Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division (NAWCAD).

Announcing the milestone on 16 November, the company said that it was working to deliver a full Mi2 prototype version of its V-BAT 128 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS for operational testing and acceptance.

The Mi2 programme is founded on the Mi2 Challenge initiative, established to accelerate the identification and evaluation of a next-generation UAS capable of operating in austere deployed environments without ancillary support systems. The first phase of the Mi2 programme involved NAWCAD AIRWorks evaluating 13 responses from industry and ultimately downselecting two vendors – L3Harris Technologies and Martin UAV – for a live demonstration event.

The Mi2 Tech Demo was run at the Yuma Proving Grounds between 30 November and 18 December 2020. Martin UAV's V-BAT 128 tail-sitting VTOL UAS was evaluated alongside the L3Harris FVR-90 VTOL hybrid quadcopter.

Martin UAV, a subsidiary of Shield AI, was downselected in April 2021 and subsequently received an Other Transaction prototype project award for MTUAS Increment 2. The prototype effort commenced in mid-October: successful completion will provide the company with a potential opportunity to enter into an official programme of record to continue improving the V-BAT 128 based on warfighter input and relevant battlefield capability gaps. Each system delivered will follow the pattern of equipment delivery, personnel training, and a government test event, supported by Martin UAV personnel.

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