AeroVironment recently declared that it has been presented with $16,472,298 in additional funding from the U.S. Army to perform on Aug. 10, 2012 under a contract action with $65,889,191 as an overall projected value. The company reported the initial $15.8 M funding of that contract action on June 1, 2012.
With grants from the Army’s fiscal 2012 procurement budget, the overall contract action comprises new miniature gimbaled payloads, RQ-11B Raven systems, and initial spares packages. The systems, spares and payloads are scheduled for delivery by June 30, 2013.
The rugged, multi-axis Mantis i23 payload for the Raven system is 450 g of weight and accommodates an electro-optical and infrared thermal video sensor, besides a laser illuminator. Two separate sensor payloads can effectively be replaced with a single payload on the Raven air vehicle. The single package provides both day time and night time capabilities.
AeroVironment senior VP and general manager of UAS, Roy Minson states that the new miniature gimbaled payload’s potential to deliver excellent imagery and tracking capability in complex environments inspires the Army to rapidly incorporate those payloads within its Raven systems. As an affordable and stable capability upgrade for the warfighter, the new payload will serve as a standard component of the presently fielded as well as the Raven systems of future.
Weighing 4.2 lb, the RQ-11B Raven UAS is a hand-launched and back-packable sensor platform remotely delivering day and night, real-time video imagery to a portable ground control station for “around the corner" and "over the hill" reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, thereby supporting tactical units. Based on Raven systems, U.S. armed forces perform extensive missions like route reconnaissance, base security, force protection and mission planning. Each Raven system typically comprises two ground control stations, three aircraft, and spares.