The US Army has exercised a contract option to order additional RQ-11B (Raven) small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and associated services from AeroVironment.

The extension, worth US$45.8m, builds on an existing contract and will see the additional UAS delivered within a year, AeroVironment says.

Raven is a 4.2lb, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time imagery for ‘over-the-hill’ and ‘around-the-corner’ reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units.

The system is used by US forces for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection.

Each Raven system consists of three aircraft, a ground control station, system spares and related services.

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh