Vanilla Unmanned successfully demonstrated multi-day maritime domain awareness (MDA) operations during the Pacific Fleet’s (PACFLT) inaugural Unmanned Integrated Battle Problem (UxS IBP) in April.
Vanilla’s 45 hour 23 minute unrefueled flight took off from Naval Air Station (NAS) Point Mugu and performed MDA tasking in coordination with manned PACFLT units. The beyond line of sight (BLOS) flight provided HD EO/IR video over satellite communications (SATCOM) at ranges greater than 200 nm from Vanilla’s ground control station.
The multi-mission Vanilla took off partially fueled and returned to base on schedule with fuel reserves sufficient for nearly doubling the length of this MDA sortie.
The UxS IBP event also showcased Vanilla’s proprietary truck-mounted launch and recovery system, a key enabler for runway-independent operations that has been proven in repeated off-road launches and recoveries.
“This flight showed Vanilla can provide a tactical capability without necessarily needing to be launched from the front line. It’s a concept of operations unique to Vanilla’s endurance and propulsion,” said Dan Edwards, Platform Aerospace CTO. In addition to the heavy lift multi-mission variant that flew in UxS IBP, a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) variant is in advanced development and will begin flights in early 2022.
Prior to the flight, Vanilla was showcased at the UxS IBP Distinguished Visitors event for senior Navy leadership, including Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas W. Harker, Commander U.S. 3RD Fleet Vice Admiral Scott D. Conn, and Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin Selby. The overall event demonstrated how Vanilla could integrate into the Navy’s Unmanned Campaign Framework, providing a variety of C5ISR capabilities in coordination with both manned and unmanned units.
Vanilla’s participation in UxS IBP was supported by PACFLT and the Office of Naval Research (ONR), as well as NAS Pt. Mugu and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program
About Platform Aerospace
Platform Aerospace is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) dedicated to supporting the warfighter and its customers’ success.Platform is AS9100D and ISO 9001:2015 certified, and specializes in manufacturing, modification and prototyping, and engineering services on a rapid timeframe. Platform has demonstrated its ability to take complex systems from “the back of the napkin to flight” through hundreds of successful projects over the past 27 years for defense, civil government, and commercial customers.
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