Raven UAS

AeroVironment has been awarded a series of contracts for the supply of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) spare parts to the US Army.

The contracts have a combined value of $27.2m, and cover the delivery of spare parts for the RQ-11B Raven and RQ-20A Puma AE systems.

AeroVironment UAS business segment senior vice-president and general manager Roy Minson said: "Recapitalising the army’s large fleet of Raven and Puma AE systems ensures that soldiers have the most effective and reliable small UAS available to support them, wherever and whenever required.

"With AeroVironment original spare parts and upgrades, operators can continue to rely on our combat-proven solutions to deliver better information on-demand, and help them operate more safely and effectively."

The latest orders take the total value of contracts received by the company since May for Raven and Puma AE UAS spare parts and Raven upgrades to $77.6m.

Weighing 4.5lb, the RQ-11B Raven is a lightweight SUAS, designed for rapid deployment and high mobility for military operations, such as low-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and target acquisition missions at ranges of up to 10km.

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Comprising three aircraft, two ground control stations and spares, the backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform is widely used by US forces for base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection operations.

"With AeroVironment original spare parts and upgrades, operators can continue to rely on our combat-proven solutions."

The Puma AE is a third-generation, man-portable and hand-launched SUAS, designed primarily for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance missions.

Each Puma system features three air vehicles and two ground-control systems. It can fly at a maximum speed of 83km/h and stay airborne for a maximum of two hours using a rechargeable battery.

The drone can also be configured to perform battle damage assessment, maritime intervention operations, visit board search seizure and search and rescue, as well as port and coastal patrolling and drug interdiction missions.

Deliveries under the contract are expected to start within the next year.

Image: A US soldier assembles a RQ-11 Raven UAV for aerial tactical Reconnaissance of insurgents in Taji, Iraq. Photo: courtesy of the US Department of Defense, photo by tech sergeant Russell E. Cooley IV, US Air Force (released).

Defence Technology