AeroVironment has secured a contract from the US Army to supply RQ-11B Raven small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and initial spares packages.

The Raven small UAS systems ordered under the $45.19m contract are meant for the army’s Security Force Assistance Brigades (SFAB).

SFAB are specialised units responsible for conducting training, advising, assisting, enabling and accompanying operations with US allied and partner countries.

AeroVironment will deliver the systems by January.

The company’s RQ-11B Raven fully man-portable, hand-launched small unmanned aircraft system can be deployed in support of land-based operations.

The 3ft-long Raven UAS weighs 3.2lb and was first adopted by the US Army in 2005. The system is now in service with more than 25 countries, including Australia, Estonia, Italy, Denmark, Spain and the Czech Republic.

In addition to the army, the Raven is used by the US Air Force and the US Marine Corps.

AeroVironment sales and business development vice-president Rick Pedigo said: “Raven is the most widely deployed small unmanned aircraft system in the US Department of Defense’s fleet.

“Our family of small unmanned aircraft systems supports all US military services and more than 45 allied nations. Every day, AeroVironment small UAS provide the actionable intelligence our customers need to proceed with certainty.”

The UAS is used for battlefield reconnaissance and enables enhanced security.

In a US Army report published last month, sergeant Foluke Marsh said: “If you need to have eyes on a target, or eyes on a convoy to make sure everything is safe, it’s good to send out the Raven instead of risking someone getting hurt or killed.”

The aircraft has a flying range of 10km and offers real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Additionally, Raven can provide video and still imagery to the operator through a handheld ground control unit and to remote viewing stations.