AeroVironment (AV), of Monrovia, Calif., and the U.S. Army Product Manager for Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) conducted a continuous 30-hour demonstration of persistent surveillance of a point target using AV’s RQ-11B Raven small unmanned aircraft system. The demonstration at Camp Roberts in California followed an inquiry from Pentagon officials regarding the potential for AV’s Raven small UAS to perform low-cost, tactically relevant persistent surveillance, the company said. The Raven weighs 4.2 pounds and is powered by lithium-ion batteries. The systems used by the Army include three air vehicles, day and night sensors, two ground control stations, a laptop computer with mission planning and recording software and accompanying spares and a battery charger. “This demonstration indicates that the Raven small UAS is capable of performing tasks normally assigned to limited, high demand and higher echelon reconnaissance assets in a highly cost effective manner,” said Dean Barten, product director for Army SUAS. AV said the 30-hour duration represents a prolonged tactical level surveillance mission similar to what would typically be performed at the battalion or lower level. Using one standard production Raven baseline system, which consists of three aircraft and two ground control stations, the demonstration provided continuous surveillance using two-person crews operating in eight-hour shifts. Employing the autonomous guidance capability incorporated into the Raven small UAS, operators rotated the aircraft over a surveyed point target, a residential building on the base, maintaining surveillance throughout the demonstration, and reported activity at the target site. In addition to recording the imagery, the demonstration team streamed a live video feed from the operation via webcast throughout the event.