Above: Wasp Launch. Photo: AeroVironment
Sweden and Denmark both selected theAE for Tactical Unmanned Aerial System (TAC- ) to support their deployed forces in Afghanistan. The two defense ministries awarded the U.S. company AeroVironment (AV) two firm fixed-price orders, Denmark awarded $9.6 million through the Danish Acquisition and Logistics Organization. The value of the Swedish contract has not been released but the scope of work could be around 40 systems. Both procurement plans were followed competitive evaluation conducted by the two countries.
“Allied armed forces are procuring our small unmanned aircraft systems to give small tactical teams the ability to operate more effectively and safely, without requiring support from more expensive, scarcer resources,” Roy Minson, senior vice president and general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems at AeroVironment told Defense-Update. According to Minson, AeroVironment is increasing the share of export in its business, and 18 nations outside the United States have now purchased AeroVironment’s Puma AE, Wasp or Raven B small. Countries already using these drones include Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Thailand, Uganda, and the United Kingdom.
Sweden has ordered 12 hybrid small unmanned aircraft systems () from AV. The order was issued by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets Materielverk) on behalf of the Swedish Army. The order consists of Puma AE and Wasp air vehicles, ground stations, training, and logistics support. Contract options could increase the procurement to a total of 30 systems.
According to Minson, AV is expanding and updating its product lines with phased improvements based on capabilities derived from operational combat lessons and technological surveys, introducing state of the art technology to empower the soldier, while easing operation and support. Among these innovations were the introduction of the digital datalink and new Mantis family of gimbaled sensors, currently available for the Puma, Raven and Wasp.
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