In 2008, AeroVironment declared that they had received a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the development of a mobile, stealthy, persistent perch and stare (SP2S) unmanned aircraft system. Shrike VTOL has been developed based on the received contract.
Tom Herring, senior vice president and general manager of AeroVironment UAS, stated that they had over four years of customer funding for the development of the Shrike VTOL unmanned aircraft. The aircraft is specifically designed to cater to the needs of small, light-weight hovering aircraft that are used for surveillance and intelligence missions. Such capabilities are not provided by currently used systems. Herring claimed that the Shrike VTOL aircraft is capable of hovering for more than 40 minutes with a high resolution video camera and also transmits several hours of real-time video coverage as a remotely located perch and stare sensor. He stated that the new technology added a significant skill set to the existing battle unmanned small aircraft systems which undertake many life-saving missions. Herring also pointed out the Shrike VTOL system’s capability to deliver advanced imagery, encrypted video and improved endurance to all AeroVironment small unmanned aircraft systems. The Shrike system weighs around 5 lbs and is highly compact. It operates with minimum noise so that it goes undetected in battle grounds.