Toll Aviation has signed a deal to bring a new AI-based uncrewed aerial system (UAS) to Australia.
V-BAT, made by US-based company Shield AI, is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAS that its manufacturer says can meet “a broad array of civil and defence mission requirements” through its capacity for multi-mission payload sets.
According to Toll Aviation general manager Colin Gunn, V-BAT has applications across land and maritime domains in areas including military, border protection, law enforcement, search and rescue, climate surveillance, and disaster management.
“[This agreement] brings together two innovative and future-thinking organisations to deliver ground-breaking capability to Australian end users, supported by a growing swathe of Australian sovereign technologies. This is an entire step up, and forward, in technology across the civilian and Defence UAS sector,” he said.
“Importantly, we are excited to ensure that specialist training and operations will be conducted in Australia, by Australian aircrew, under an Australian ReOC training approval or equivalent military training scheme.
“This will enable clients to receive relevant CASA licensing and operational approvals within the 150kg VTOL systems, paving the way for domestic operations in approved civil and military airspace.”
Toll is set to conduct demonstrator flights next year in various locations around Australia, and will offer a full V-BAT Operator and Maintainer Type Endorsement Course at The ACE Training Centre in Sydney next February in conjunction with Shield AI.
“This team and this platform collectively deliver great potential for a shared service model, supporting multiple Government agencies, delivering value for money capability and improving national response and resilience capabilities,” said Gunn.