MONROVIA, Calif., 2 Oct. 2013. U.S. Army officials sought to continue upgrading the Army’s fleet of RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The found their solution at AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) in Monrovia, Calif., and issued an order for the company’s Mantis i23 gimbaled sensor payloads.
AeroVironment develops and produces advanced upgrades for its integrated UAS, including the Raven.
The multi-axis pan, tilt, and zoom sensor payload enhances the capability of RQ-11B Raven UAS operated by the U.S. Army.
“Since delivering the first Raven system to the Army nearly 10 years ago, we have remained relentlessly focused on ensuring that our customers have the most capable, reliable and effective tactical UAS available,” explains Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of the company’s UAS business segment. “The Army’s Raven system, with AeroVironment’s rugged gimbaled sensor payload and the recent digital data link upgrade of its entire fleet, is a modern tool for gaining superiority on the battlefield.”
U.S. government fiscal 2013 appropriations provided funding for the nearly $20 million (specifically, $19,984,999) order under an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract awarded in Dec.2012. Delivery is scheduled within 12 months.
According to U.S. Department of Defense officials, more than 5,000 Raven air vehicles are currently in the field, making it the most prolific unmanned aircraft system in its fleet. Raven systems have helped save countless lives in high-risk operating environments, and they continue to help protect U.S. troops and a growing number of allied military forces, says a company spokesperson.
The RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft system is a 4.5-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.
Raven systems now come equipped with AeroVironment’s fully stabilized Mantis gimbaled payload, incorporating electro-optical and infrared video sensors and a laser illuminator. 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.