U.S. Army Orders Ravens for SOCOM & Other Services

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The U.S. Army exercised an option for additional procurement of RQ-11B Raven Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) from AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV). The total award value is $45.8 million. Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, a ground control station, system spares, and related services. and is fully funded.

Hand launched Raven RQ-11AThe SUAS program of record provides the Raven hand-launched aerial sensor systems for the Army and Marine Corps. The additional contract will provide for additional supplies supporting Special Operations Command and other U.S. military services.

Raven is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. U.S. armed forces use Ravens extensively for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection. Raven can be operated manually or programmed for autonomous operation, utililizing the system’s advanced avionics and precise GPS navigation. With a wingspan of 4.5 feet and a weight of 4.2 pounds, the hand-launched Raven provides aerial observation, day or night, at line-of-sight ranges up to 10 kilometers. The Raven delivers real-time color or infrared imagery to the ground control and remote viewing stations. According to the U.S. Army, Ravens were flown for approximately 150,000 combat hours in 2007. To date Sofar AeroVironment has delivered more than 8,000 small unmanned aircraft, most of them Ravens.

A US Air Force team prepares to launch a Raven SUAS. Photo: US Air Force