By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
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Image(s) Credit: Northrop Grumman
November 22, 2013
Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated their fully-automomous Bat 12 UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System) at the Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One Weapons and Tactics Instructor event at Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, California. The Bat 12 is a medium altitude, multi-mission UAS/UAV with a 10-12-foot wingspan (depending on variant) and a 70-mph flight speed. It's tactical mission capabilities include C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), counter-IED, communications relay, SIGINT (signals intellegence), EW (electronic warfare, including jamming enemy radar and missile systems) and maritime surveillance. The Bat 12 UAS was essentially designed and developed to punch above its weight class, using its radar-jamming capability to execute electronic attack missions against enemy radar and SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) systems, and do it just as well as significantly larger and more expensive UAS/UAV platforms.
The secret to the Bat 12's EW capability is its Pandora electronic attack payload, a "lightweight, low-cost derivative of the company's family of APR-39 systems," according to Wired magazine. Since it's catapult-launched from a hydrauli rail launcher, it doesn't need a runway, making it runway-independent, meaning you can launch it from virtually anywhere, including ships.
The Bat UAS utilizes a blended wing-body low-observable/stealth design. As such, it sports a larger payload volume (3.2 cubic feet) than other UAS/UAV's its size, giving it the ability to also carry more payload . The Bat 12 can carry up to 75 lbs, while the Bat 12+2 variant can carry up to 100 lbs.
DefenseReview (DR) doesn't yet know who makes the Bat UAS' EO/IR (Electro-Optical/InfraRed) sensor, but it may be a FLIR Systems sensor suite (unconfirmed/unverified).
The following information comes directly from the Bat UAS land-based data sheet:
Bat™ UAS is Northrop Grumman’s family of multi-mission, persistent and affordable unmanned air vehicles that can be configured for tactical missions such as counter IED, communications relay, signals intelligence, electronic warfare (EW), and maritime surveillance. Combat-proven, Bat has been deployed to multiple forward operating bases in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Bat has flown a large variety of payloads such as EO/IR, SAR, SIGINT, EW and Comms Relay.
The Bat family has a blended wing-body design, which can carry up to 100lbs with more than 6 cubic feet of payload space. The HIRTH 2-stroke 15.8 HP EFI engine powers Bat in either a gas or heavy fuel version.
Runway-independent, ship launch and recoverable, and fully autonomous, the Bat™ UAS launches from a rail launcher and recovers into a portable net. Bat is a fully modular system using a four fastener interface for all line replaceable units, allowing quick components change or mission specific load-outs.
Hub and spoke operations and multiple air vehicles can be operated from single laptops that run the Ground Control Stations (GCS). Bat is Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) capable. The Bat and its GCS are fully compatible with the situational awareness needs of the ROVER/laptop-equipped warfighter.
Bat™ is combat proven on Operation Enduring Freedom deployment.
Specifications (Bat 12):
Payload and Comms: Up to 75 lbs (34 kg)
Wingspan: 12 ft (3.6 m)
Length: 6.3 ft (1.9 m)
Max. Gross Takeoff Weight: 220 lbs (99.8 kg)
Max. Altitude: 15,000 ft MSL (4.5 m)
Max. Speed (Level Flight): 89 ktas
Loiter Speed: 60 ktas
Electrical Power: Up to 1200 watts
Specifications (Bat 12+2):
Payload and Comms: Up to 100 lbs (45.3 kg)
Wingspan: 14 ft (4.3 m)
Length: 6.7 ft (2.0 m)
Max. Gross Takeoff Weight: 250 lbs (113.5 kg)
Max. Altitude: 17,000 ft MSL (5.2 m)
Max. Speed (Level Flight): 90 ktas
Loiter Speed: 64 ktas
Electrical Power: Up to 1200 watts"
Hat Tip: Wired Magazine
Company contact Info:
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