MONROVIA, Calif., 8 Oct. 2014. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) officials have awarded AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) and its industry team a 12-month, $19,035,007 phase II preliminary design contract to advance the Tactically Exploited Reconnaissance Node (TERN).
DARPA and the U.S. Office of Naval Research envision a new concept of operations using smaller ships as mobile launch and recovery sites for medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAS. Tern aims to make it easier, quicker, and less expensive for the Navy and Marine Corps to deploy persistent intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike capabilities virtually anywhere in the world.
AeroVironment selected industry partners with uniquely relevant experience and capabilities for the Tern program, including large aircraft avionics, ship integration, and propulsion expertise. Advanced technologies form the basis of the team's unique approach to realizing DARPA's program objectives, officials say.
"Our team represents the best combination of relevant expertise and technology leadership to make Tern a reality," says Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its UAS business segment. "Our innovative approach to achieving DARPA's objectives for Tern holds the promise of an entirely new category of unmanned aircraft system that could operate more quickly and effectively by deploying from smaller naval vessels for longer, more distant missions. We look forward to demonstrating this new capability to help protect our naval forces and those of our allies affordably and effectively."
The phase II effort is expected to conclude with subscale flight demonstrations prior to a planned phase III award decision.
AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops, produces, supports, and operates an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. The company's electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems generate and process data to deliver insight on-demand to people engaged in military, public safety, and commercial activities around the world.