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Northrop Grumman Bat

Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS)

United States | 2006

"The Northrop Grumman Bat Unmanned Aircraft System is billed as a tactical-level platform suitable for low-cost reconnaissance requirements."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 10/15/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The field of unmanned air vehicles is a crowded one to be sure. For its part, the storied aero-concern of Northrop Grumman has been steadily developing a slew of reusable UAV types for various combat and non-combat roles. The "Bat" is one of the company's offerings - billed as a multi-mission, medium-altitude tactical-level Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) suitable for reconnaissance roles in both warfare and peacetime. The Bat system has already been proven in combat environments such as "Operation Enduring Freedom" (Afghanistan) in support of intelligence-gathering actions.

The Bat is a UAS product originally offered by Swift Engineering with rights to the air vehicle purchased by Northrop Grumman and the vehicle subsequently renamed as the "Bat" in April of 2009.

The Bat utilizes a blended "wing-body" design which makes it nearly a flying wing - the only vertical planes are located at the extreme ends of each mainplane. The wings contour elegantly into the fuselage, which is pointed at its nose, and provides enhanced aerodynamic efficiency while also improving operational range. The optics/sensor kit is fitted under the "chin" section of the fuselage for unfettered views of the action below. At the rear of the aircraft is its powerplant, a single Hirth-branded engine used to drive a five-bladed propeller unit in "pusher" fashion. Performance from the engine allows the aircraft to reach speeds over 100 miles-per-hour and fly for up to eighteen hours up to an altitude of 17,000 feet.

Overall length of the drone reaches 12 feet while its wingspan measures 14 feet. Gross weight is rated at 350 lb. The payload limit is 125 lb. Its compactness allows this drone to be hauled by air in the belly of a Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" transport, Bell-Boeing MV-22 "Osprey" tilt-rotor transport, and conventional medium-lift/medium-class rotorcraft or along the ground by way of HUMVEE vehicle or similar.

The multi-mission aspect of this UAS is its ability to be rapidly outfitted for various roles such as SIGnals INTelligence (SIGINT), Electronic Warfare (EW), COMMunications RELay (COMMREL), maritime surveillance, and Search and Rescue (SAR). This sort of inherent modularity breeds tactical flexibility for any operator. The Bat can operate through fully-autonomy. It is catapult-launched for simplicity by way of a mobile launcher unit (which can be seated on a vehicle) - as such it does not require a prepared runaway. Recovery is by an erected net, allowing the system to be wholly-reclaimable and reusable.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Northrop Grumman Bat Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS).
1 x Hirth engine driving a five-bladed propeller unit at the rear of the fuselage in "pusher" arrangement.
106 mph
170 kph | 92 kts
Max Speed
16,995 ft
5,180 m | 3 miles
Service Ceiling
1,864 miles
3,000 km | 1,620 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Northrop Grumman Bat Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS).
6.6 ft
2.00 m
O/A Length
14.0 ft
(4.26 m)
O/A Width
3.0 ft
(0.91 m)
O/A Height
353 lb
(160 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Northrop Grumman Bat Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) .
Mission-specific payload of up to 125 lb maximum.
Notable series variants as part of the Northrop Grumman Bat family line.
Bat - Base Series Name.
R-Bat ("Rotary-Bat") - Unmanned Helicopter family offshoot with common core systems components.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Northrop Grumman Bat. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 10 Units

Contractor(s): Northrop Grumman - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States ]
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Image of the Northrop Grumman Bat
Image released to the Public Domain by the Untied States Department of the Defense.
2 / 3
Image of the Northrop Grumman Bat
Image from official Northrop Grumman marketing materials.
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Image of the Northrop Grumman Bat
Image from official Northrop Grumman marketing materials.

Going Further...
The Northrop Grumman Bat Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System (TUAS) appears in the following collections:
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