The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to AeroVironment for the delivery of its RQ-11B Raven small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The RQ-11B hand-launched military drone to be delivered to the USAF through the contract will be used to support the Latin American and Caribbean nations.
The indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (ID / IQ) contract received by AeroVironment is valued at $13m.
AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems Business vice-president and general manager Kirk Flittie said: “Raven revolutionised the battlefield with instant eyes in the sky and force protection for small tactical units 15 years ago and its enhanced capabilities continue to protect US and allied armed forces throughout the world.
“From the snow-capped peaks of Afghanistan to the dense jungles and rugged mountains of Latin America, Raven and AeroVironment’s family of small surveillance drones, including Puma AE and Wasp AE, are giving US and allied troops unmatched advantages to advance safely through dangerous terrain.”
The US Government fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds of $2.8m were committed to the work at the time of the award.
Work on the project is expected to be completed by 28 September 2023.
Once delivered, the Raven small UAS will be deployed by the airforce in the US Southern Command Area of Responsibility, which includes Central America, South America and the Caribbean countries.
Designed and developed by AeroVironment, RQ-11B Raven or Raven B drone is a lightweight, man-portable, low-altitude remote-controlled unmanned air vehicle system that is capable of carrying out intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) operations.
Flying at an altitude of 100ft to 500ft, the unmanned system can land safely through auto-piloting without the need for landing gear and prepared landing strips.
The small UAS is designed to provide real-time colour or infrared imagery to the ground control and remote viewing units.