Shield AI unveils V-Bat Teams Drone Swarm Tech, with eye to Pentagon Replicator Program

California-based defense technology firm Shield AI on Monday launched a new drone swarming capability called V-Bat Teams, one it hopes the Defense Department might use for programs such as its Replicator initiative. V-Bat Teams, which grew out of Shield AI’s experiments with the Air Force’s AFWERX innovation unit that culminated in a demonstration this summer, has at its core the company’s artificial intelligence pilot software dubbed Hivemind. These teams consisting of a handful of V-Bat aircraft are intended to operate autonomously in high-threat environments, without needing instructions or guidance from GPS or communications. In an interview Tuesday at the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference in Washington, Shield AI’s co-founder and president said V-Bat Teams could be a “great fit” with the Pentagon’s Replicator program, which aims to field thousands of autonomous, attritable drones in the next two years to counter China. Shield AI is now accepting orders for V-BAT Teams, with deliveries expected in 2024. For details, visit and

Our thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, for his assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in USN Edition  # 23 - 17 - 20 OCTOBER 2023 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN). David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every three to four weeks as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.