The Wasp AE unmanned aircraft system from AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif., has been accepted by the U.S. Air Force for inclusion in its Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle (BATMAV) program. Inclusion into the BATMAV program enabled the Air Force to place an order for Wasp systems valued at $2.5 million.
The company said the Air Force conducted engineering and user assessments of Wasp system over a one-year period to ensure compliance with the requirements of the BATMAV program. The successful completion of these assessments and the resulting acceptance supports Wasp AE procurement by other U.S. Department of Defense customers.
The Wasp AE represents the continuing evolution of the Wasp small UAS, which was previously adopted by the Air Force and Marine Corps for small unit tactical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Designed with AeroVironment’s digital data link, Wasp AE is interoperable with the company’s digital Puma, Raven, Shrike VTOL and portable ground control station, and is capable of encrypted communication, beyond line-of-sight operation and voice, video, text and data relay. Wasp AE also incorporates AeroVironment’s Mantis suite of miniature gimbaled payloads, the 275 gram Mantis i22 AE, giving operators both color and infrared video imagery from a single sensor package. Weighing 2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms), the Wasp AE air vehicle is designed for ground and water landing, making it suitable for both land and maritime missions, and is capable of 20 percent greater flight duration than the prior Wasp.
“Wasp AE completes our fully digital family of small unmanned aircraft systems and incorporates the advanced capabilities of Puma and Raven into a smaller, lighter and more portable package for rapid deployment and minimal logistics support,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “The United States government and our own mission services team are using Wasp AE systems effectively. We believe that other military and non-military customers in the United States and abroad will find Wasp AE a compelling solution to support their tactical operations.”