The US Navy is to develop a man-packable vertical take-off and landing micro air vehicle (VTOL MAV) equipped with advanced nanosensors to allow the aircraft to enter sensitive or denied areas for reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence-gathering missions.

The research programme includes four parts – man-portable VTOL MAV air frames that can operate indoors or out; power and energy systems; reconnaissance, surveillance and exploitation; and relative command, control communications and computers (C4).

The first part in the research programme involves developing a collapsible, back-packable air frame able to access sensitive or denied areas covertly in a variety of operating areas and environments, while the second part involves the development of lightweight alternative power sources.

Development of advanced visual augmentation systems; the ability to tag, track and locate devices and technologies; advanced situational awareness in all operating environments; and automated threat detection and cueing will be covered in the third stage of research.

In addition, development of advanced micro and nano-scale sensors, advanced breaching technology for VTOL MAV deployment, remotely operated weapons and technologies and persistent surveillance, including unattended sensors will be included in the third research area.

The final research area involves enhanced guidance and geo-location systems, self-forming mobile ad-hoc networks, advanced multifunction software-defined radios, advanced data management, cyberspace operations exploitation and counter-threat technologies among others.

A presolicitation for VTOL MAV has been issued by the navy explosive ordnance disposal technology division in Indian Head, Maryland.

The development will begin on behalf of the US Navy’s explosive ordnance disposal group two’s special mission support integrated product team in Norfolk, Virginia.