RQ-11 Raven small unmanned aircraft system

AeroVironment has been selected as one of the prime contractors for the US Army’s future small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) requirements.

Awarded by the US Army Contracting Command (ACC), the firm fixed-price indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract has a maximum potential value of $248m for all five awardees, which also comprise Altavian, Innovative Automation Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Elbit Systems Of America.

The contract has been designed to enable continued acquisition of AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven and RQ-20A Puma all environment (AE) systems, in addition to other competing medium and long-range small UAS.

AeroVironment senior vice president and Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment general manager Roy Minson said the company has competed for every Department of Defense (Dod) contract involving small UAS (SUAS) and supplied reliable systems with enhanced capability to troops.

"This new IDIQ contract provides for continued procurement of small UAS, reflecting the high value of this capability," Minson added.

"This new IDIQ contract provides for continued procurement of small UAS, reflecting the high value of this capability."

"We look forward to supporting the US Army and other customers with market leading small UAS solutions that anticipate the ever-evolving needs of warfighters and address the budgetary constraints of governments."

The RQ-11 Raven and RQ-20A Puma belong to AeroVironment’s line of SUAS that operate with a common ground control system (GCS) to provide commanders with the option of selecting appropriate aircraft depending on the mission type being carried out.

The RQ-11 Raven is a lightweight SUAS designed for rapid deployment and high-mobility for military operations, such as low-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), battle damage assessment and maritime patrol operations.

Equipped with three air vehicles and two ground control systems, the 13lb Puma AE is a third-generation, portable and hand-launched SUAS, designed primarily to conduct intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) missions.

Work under the contract is expected to complete by December 2017.

Image: A RQ-11 Raven small unmanned aircraft system being launched by a US soldier. Photo: courtesy of AeroVironment Inc.