AeroVironment has received a contract from the US Army to equip the Raven hand-launched unmanned aircraft system (UAS) with upgraded radio frequency (RF) and communication systems.

The firm-fixed-price contract was awarded in June with an initial $862,488 order. The contract has potential contract options worth as much as $55m.

AeroVironment competed for task orders and won the bid as part of the army’s $248m indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract for small UAS and spare parts sustainment contract announced in April last year.

The IDIQ sustainment contract was designed to continue for five years.

AeroVironment sales and business development vice-president Rick Pedigo said: “AeroVironment engineered and manufactures the Raven system, so we are best equipped to support quick and efficient field upgrades to ensure maximum Raven system uptime and force protection for operators around the world.

“AeroVironment and the army are committed to supplying soldiers closest to the fight with the most advanced aerial robotic technology to gain critical situational awareness anywhere and at any time to help them proceed with certainty.”

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The company was selected along with six other firms for the IDIQ contract.

The task orders include tactical open government-owned architecture (TOGA) systems, spares for RQ-20A Puma, RQ-11B Raven spares and flight control systems (FCS), and other components.

AeroVironment was chosen to serve as the sole-source supplier for spares for the RQ-11B and RQ-20A UAS systems and for FCS.

Weighing 4.2lbs, the Raven system is built to support applications that require ‘low-altitude intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance’, AeroVironment said.

The company’s Raven has a wingspan of 4.5ft and can be used for aerial observation, during day and night.

The rapidly deployable system can operate at line-of-sight ranges of up to 10km.