RQ-11 Raven

The US Army has awarded a contract to AeroVironment to supply its RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

Under the $3.4m foreign military sales (FMS) contract, the company will supply an undisclosed number of Raven UAS, designed for rapid deployment and high-mobility for military applications requiring low-altitude intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment vice-president and general manager Kirk Flittie said: "As the global leader in the design and manufacture of small unmanned aircraft systems.

"AeroVironment continues to set the standard for delivering increasingly valuable capabilities in some of the most challenging conditions and places in the world.

"All US armed services and more than thirty global allied forces rely on our unmanned aircraft systems to gain rapid intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for information superiority in today’s hot zones.

"Our small UAS deliver powerful insight, on-demand for valuable, real-time situational awareness, whenever and wherever needed, that helps military personnel operate more safely and effectively."

"Our small UAS deliver powerful insight, on-demand for valuable, real-time situational awareness."

Comprising three aircraft, two ground control stations, and spares, the backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform is designed to provide aerial observation, day or night, at line-of-sight ranges up to nearly 10km.

Operated manually or programmed for autonomous operation, the drone is available with an optional stabilised gimbaled payload, and delivers real-time colour or infrared imagery to ground control and remote viewing stations.

The UAS is widely used by the US forces for base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning, and force protection operations.

AeroVironment has so far delivered more than 25,000 new and replacement small unmanned aerial vehicles to customers worldwide.

Image: A US soldier prepares to launch the Raven unmanned aerial vehicle in Patika Province, Iraq. Photo: courtesy of Sgt. 1st class Michael Guillory.