Thu, Mar 16, 2006
Tiny UAVs Have Over 18,000 Hours In The Field
Monrovia, CA-based AeroVironment, Inc. told Aero-News this week
the company achieved a significant milestone recently in its
production of Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (SUAV) systems. The
Raven (RQ-11A) -- a manpackable SUAV used by the US Army and
Special Forces in the Global War on Terrorism since 2002 --
recently surpassed the 3,000 production mark.
The Raven is a 4.2 pound, hand-launched (above) aerial sensor
platform that provides day and night, near-real-time video imagery
for "over the hill" intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
in support of a ground commander. To date, US Army combat
deployment of Raven includes 18,673 flight hours in 15,314 sorties
in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Building on the success of the RQ-11A, AeroVironment was awarded
the US Army's SUAV low-rate initial production contract (LRIP) in
October 2005 for its "Raven B," which offers significant product
enhancements compared to the current Raven A.
The LRIP award is the first step in an expected multi-year,
full-rate production program of a significant number of Raven
systems over the five year POM cycle for warfighters of the US Army
and US Special Operations Command. AV delivered all LRIP hardware
in early November and completed development testing for an initial
operational test and evaluation scheduled in early 2006.
"This SUAV LRIP award is a significant milestone in our 20-year
partnership with the US Armed Forces to develop this class of
unmanned aerial vehicle," said Tim Conver, AV's President and Chief
Executive Officer. "We reiterate our commitment to on-time
deliveries of the highest quality products to meet the needs of our
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