Martin UAV, in collaboration with the Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC), began a contractor-owned, contractor-operated deployment on-board a Coast Guard cutter in the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility on Aug. 13-14, 2020.
The project, which is utilizing the Martin UAV V-BAT, is part of an effort to assess how Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) medium-range UAS capabilities might be used to support Coast Guard operations, including Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations.
The patrol data also can be used to refine a concept of operations and requirements for installing and integrating VTOL UAS across current and future Coast Guard cutter classes. This is the first evaluation of a VTOL medium-range UAS during a Coast Guard patrol.
“UAS technology has already proven to be a gamechanger for the Coast Guard. It impacts timelines for obtaining a statement of no objection for boarding vessels, provides situational awareness for boarding crews prior to embarking on targets of interest and provides a better covert means for tracking targets of interest, resulting in enhanced maritime domain awareness and mission execution,” explained Stephen Dunn, RDC aviation research scientist. “The VTOL system takes things a step further by reducing the footprint of the UAS for future Coast Guard cutter employment,” Dunn said.