By Andy Choi
AeroVironment, Army Aviation Association of America recently launched a new miniature gimbaled sensor payload on the battle-tested RQ-11B Raven small unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
RQ-11B Raven with new miniature gimbaled sensor payload (Photo: Business Wire)
It was unveiled at the Annual Professional Forum and Exposition hosted at the Army Aviation Association of America.
A multi-axis sphere-built laser illuminator, a high-resolution color and an infrared thermal video sensor form a part of the modular payload. The future Raven systems will utilize the new payload as a standard component. By using a software update, the existing digital Raven systems can be upgraded. The new payload is among the four products in AeroVironment’s Mantis series of gimbaled sensor payloads.
The efficiency of the Raven system can be improved using a gimbaled sensor payload. Furthermore, the new payload replaces two separate Raven system payloads such as a stationary infrared sensor and a stationary electro-optical sensor. With the help of flight algorithms, the air vehicle can leverage its own flight path according to the user’s needs.
Following its launch in 2003, the Raven system has experienced three upgrades previously. This new gimbaled sensor payload integration upgrade is the fourth one, made after the replacement of AeroVironment’s digital data link (DDL) with the Raven system’s analog communication modules.
AeroVironment’s Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems encompasses Puma and Shrike VTOL, RQ-11B Raven, and Wasp that operate on a common ground control system (GCS). AeroVironment has presented several small unmanned air vehicles both new ones and for replacement. AeroVironment’s small UAS has been procured by the armed forces of several international countries. The Qube small UAS, designed for first response, law enforcement, and other public safety missions can be readily assembled, unpacked and easily retrofitted in the car’s trunk.