New Datalink Quadruples Raven’s Operability


New production Raven (RQ-11B) Small UAVs to be delivered to the US Army will be equipped with Digital DataLinks (DDL) for the first time. In January 2009 the Army placed an order valued $16 million for the production of 50 Raven systems, equipped with the new DDL.

All of AV’s small UAS originally employed a four-channel analog data link, limiting the number of aircraft that could be operated in a given geographical area. “This Digital Data Link enhances the capabilities of our Raven system by increasing the number of communication channels by a factor of four, enabling our customers to use more Raven systems where they need them,” said John Grabowsky, executive vice president and general manager of AV’s UAS segment.

“Our DDL also provides enhanced communications security, and establishes the foundation for a new, highly capable and portable communications network over the battlefield. This marks the transition of an important research and development program into production.” Grabowsky added.

The DDL was designed to conform to the weight, volume and power parameters of the Raven. The Army also plans to retrofit 206 existing Raven systems with the new link. AV plans to develop a smaller version of its DDL that can be incorporated into its smallest production UAS, Wasp.