AeroVironment has won an initial contract option to modify the radio frequencies of the US Army’s existing fleet of Raven tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS).

The $21m award is part of a previously awarded US Army contract.

It is the first of three options exercised by the US Army under the sole source Flight Control Systems (FCS) domain awarded to AeroVironment in June last year.

One of six domains, FCS comprises of the army’s existing five-year indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) SUAS contract with a ceiling value of $55m.

AeroVironment business development and sales vice-president Rick Pedigo said: “AeroVironment is committed to providing continuous support to the army’s ongoing, multi-year programmes of record for tactical UAS, such as the Raven, with quick and efficient field upgrades to help operators around the world perform their missions more effectively.”

Under the contract option, the company will provide avionics and data link upgrade packages for the modification work.

Services under the contract will be delivered over a two-year period.

Designed for rapid deployment, the Raven system is capable of performing low-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

With a wingspan of 4.5ft, weighing 1.9kg and an operational range of 10km, the hand-launched Raven provides situational awareness throughout the operation.

The Raven’s Mantis i23 EO/IR gimbaled payload delivers real-time video or infrared imagery to ground control and remote viewing stations.

Last month, AeroVironment won two orders from the Nato Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) to deliver Raven and Puma3 All Environment (AE) tactical UAS and spares.