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The US is trying to assess how Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) medium-range UAV capabilities might be used to support Coast Guard operations, including Beyond Visual Line of Sight operations. This is the first evaluation of a VTOL medium-range UAS during a Coast Guard patrol.

Martin UAV, in collaboration with the US Coast Guard Research and Development Center (RDC), began a contractor-owned, contractor-operated deployment of the company’s V-BAT on-board a Coast Guard cutter in the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility.

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. according to 

“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.