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Thu, Mar 16, 2006

Raven UAV Achieves Production, Operational Milestones

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 nation's warfighters."

FMI: www.avsuav.com

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