AeroVironment has received an order valued at $45.2 million (€40.7 million) from the US Army for its RQ-11B RAVEN small unmanned aerial system (UAS) and initial spares packages. The Army will deploy the UAS with its Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFAB), specialised units with the core mission to conduct training, advising, assisting, enabling and accompanying operations with allied and partner nations.
“RAVEN is the most widely deployed small unmanned aircraft system in the United States Department of Defense’s fleet […] Our family of small unmanned aircraft systems supports all US military services and more than 45 allied nations. Every day, AeroVironment small UAS provide the actionable intelligence our customers need to proceed with certainty,” observed AeroVironment’s Vice President, Sales and Business Development, Rick Pedigo.
Testimony from users in a report published by the US Army in July indicated that the RAVEN is more agile and less detectable than larger and more costly unmanned aircraft. Soldiers use it to conduct battlefield reconnaissance and provide their units with a greater level of security. “If you need to have eyes on a target, or eyes on a convoy to make sure everything is safe, it’s good to send out the RAVEN instead of risking someone getting hurt or killed,” added Sgt Foluke Marsh.
AeroVironment’s RAVEN is a fully man-portable, hand-launched small UAS designed for land-based operations. First adopted by the US Army in 2005, RAVEN is now used by more than 25 nations. Weighing just over 4lbs, with a wingspan of 4.5ft and a range of 10km, it is the most prolific small UAS deployed across the US DoD. It provides operators with real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, delivering colour or infrared video and still imagery to its operator via a hand-held ground control unit, or to remote viewing stations. It uses a GPS system for pre-programmed or manual navigation.