AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif., received a $15.8 million authorization from the U.S. Army for RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft systems, new miniature gimbaled payloads and initial spares packages. This initial portion of a contract action is part of a larger package with a total projected value of $65.9 million. Delivery of systems, spares and payloads is scheduled for completion by April 30, 2013.
The RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft system is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery wirelessly to a portable ground control station for "over the hill" and "around the corner" reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. U.S. armed forces use Raven systems extensively for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection. Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, two ground control stations and spares.
"The U.S. Army has more than 1,700 Raven systems in its inventory with an ultimate goal of more than 2,300 systems," said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "Since winning the Army's small unmanned aircraft system competition in 2005 we have focused on delivering highly reliable, highly capable Raven systems and on continuously enhancing their capabilities. The new miniature gimbaled payload is the latest example of cost-effective improvements that will benefit soldiers directly through enhanced situational awareness."