Northrop Grumman Bat

The Northrop Grumman Bat is a medium-altitude unmanned air vehicle originally developed for use by the United States Armed Forces. Designed primarily as an intelligence "ISR" gathering tool, the Bat features 30 lb payload capacity that is unmatched in a 10 ft wing span.

Northrop Grumman Bat UAV in flight in June 2014.JPG
Role Reconnaissance UAV
National origin United States
Manufacturer Northrop Grumman
Designer Swift Engineering
First flight 14 March 2006

Northrop Grumman received design and marketing rights from Swift Engineering Killer Bee to sell which was renamed the Bat UAS in April 2009.[1]

The Bat UAS was redeveloped to increase payload carrying capacity and extend range. The latest variant offered for sale by Northrop Grumman has a wing span of 14 feet and can carry up to 100 pounds of payload. The Bat "14" UAS has a maximum altitude of 17,000 feet above sea level and a maximum endurance of 18 hours.[2]

On August 12, 2011, Northrop Grumman was awarded $26,178,369 on a cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification basis for Sand Dragon B Tier II UAVs for detecting IEDs and roadside bombs.[3]


  • The Bat UAS System is packaged for transport into two major assemblies: Launch/Recovery & Air Vehicle/GCS
    • Transportable on MV-22, HUMVEE, C-130, and by Helicopter[1]
  • Bat UAVs incorporate COTS payloads for reduced costs and ease of maintenance[1]
  • Automatic Recovery is programmed and controlled via autonomous computer and differential GPS using a portable net system[1]
  • Catapult launcher functions are controlled and monitored by GCS software[1][4]

The blended wings merge with the fuselage into a single airfoil to reduce aerodynamic drag, improve fuel economy, and increase flight endurance. Made largely of composites, including epoxy/carbon fiber and fiberglass, the airfoil is rigid, providing structural efficiency and stiffness, reducing materials and manufacturing costs. With net hooks in the nose and a rear push propeller, the craft lands in a mobile retrieval net.[5]

The current Hirth engine with 5-bladed propeller provides a flight time of up to 18 hours. The Bat is designed to have a lower than average visual and radar cross-section profile. A heavy-fuel engine design is also available for ease of environmental integration.[1]

The payload capabilities consists of, for example, still image and real-time video cameras, EO/IR and SAR sensors, Kestrel MTI, laser range finders, laser designators, infrared cameras, communication relays, IED detection, radar jamming EW, chemical and biological detection systems, psy ops, and flare dispensers.


The Bat UAS has the ability to carry numerous types of payloads for collecting intelligence, including still image and real time video cameras, EO/IR and SAR sensors, laser range finders, laser designators, Infra-Red cameras, communications relay equipment, chemical, biological, and IED detection systems and flare dispensers.[6] The Bat (formerly KillerBee) series is planned for commercial sale to support private security surveillance, and as a means to monitor pipelines, power lines, Border Protection as well as weather phenomenon.[6]

Specifications (Bat UAS)Edit

General characteristics

  • Crew: None
  • Capacity: 75 lb (34 kg) payload
  • Length: 12 ft 0 in (2.0 m)
  • Wingspan: 14 ft 0 in (4.3 m)
  • Gross weight: 350 lb (158.76 kg)


  • Maximum speed: 104 mph (166 km/h, 90 kn)
  • Endurance: 18 hours
  • Service ceiling: 17,000 ft (5,200 m)


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f Airforce Technology "Bat Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), United States of America" retrieved on August 15, 2014[unreliable source?]
  2. ^ Defense Review [1] retrieved on August 15, 2014
  3. ^ Defense Industry Daily Defense Industry Daily staff retrieved on August 14, 2014
  4. ^ Defense Review "Northrop Grumman Bat 12 UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System): Catapult-Launched Tactical Low-Observable/Stealth Drone Aircraft with Blended Wing-Body for Electronic Warfare (EW)/Attack Ops (Video!)" retrieved on August 15, 2014
  5. ^ Black, Sara (5 January 2007), "Blended Wing UAV", Composites World, archived from the original on 5 September 2008
  6. ^ a b "KillerBee UAV". Archived from the original on 23 October 2006. retrieved on March 17, 2007
  7. ^

External linksEdit

  Media related to Northrop Grumman Bat at Wikimedia Commons