U.S. unmanned aerial system manufacturer AeroVironment was awarded a $6.4 million contract from an existing Southeast Asian military customer for additional Raven systems, the company said on Monday, November 4.
Delivery on the $6,408,542 firm fixed-price contract is anticipated within 12 months, AeroVironment said in a release.
“With nearly two decades of combat-proven effectiveness, Raven is a mainstay workhorse for this customer’s military, other allied governments, and the U.S. military because it gives troops closest to the fight immediate eyes in the sky to gain lifesaving situational awareness anywhere and at any time,” said Rick Pedigo, AeroVironment vice president of sales and business development.
The customer was not disclosed, but Thailand and the Philippines already operate the Raven UAS, along with 18 NATO member countries, and other customers in South America and Africa, with 45 military operators in total.
The man-portable system, designated RQ-11B Raven by the U.S. military, comprises three drones and is designed to provide day or night aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The standard configuration includes dual forward and side-looking electro-optical cameras, but it can also be fitted with the gimbal system for 360-degree coverage.
The system’s encrypted digital data link also provides range extension by data relay between two aircraft.
The hand-launched drone is 0.9 m (3 feet) long with a 1.4 m (4.5-foot) wingspan and weighs 1.9 kg (4.2 lbs). It typically operates at up to 500 feet, and has a range of 10 km (6.2 miles) and up to 90 minutes endurance. The ground control station allows manual control and programmable GPS-based autonomous navigation.
According to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, the system has a rucksack-portable design, is operated by two personnel and can be assembled in five minutes. Operators require only 10 days training.