AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ: AVAV) has received funding for a small Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) capable of performing “hover/perch and stare” missions. The new system will be based on AV’s Wasp system, currently in service with US forces. DARPA is supporting the program with $4.6 million in funding. The goal of the Stealthy, Persistent, Perch and Stare (SP2S) UAS program is to develop the technology to enable an entirely new generation of perch-and-stare micro air vehicles capable of flying to difficult targets, landing on and securing to a “perch” position, conducting sustained, perch-and-stare surveillance missions, and then re-launching from its perch and returning to its home base.
“A UAS that performs hover/perch and stare missions is viewed as an important capability for our armed forces,” said John Grabowsky, AV executive vice president and general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. “Our production Wasp incorporates the latest technologies to provide a day and night capable, hand-launched UAS that fits into a standard backpack while still providing room for other important supplies. We believe that the Wasp-based SP2S, operated with our joint, common ground control unit, is on track to develop into a portable, practical and affordable perch-and-stare micro air vehicle,” he added.