April 15, 2011      

The RQ-11Raven unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is set for a digital upgrade, using retrofit kits from UAS solutions provider AeroVironment Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV). The Monrovia, Calif.-based company has received a firm-fixed-price contract order for about 250 kits valued at $14,773,816 under an existing contract with the U.S. Army. Work on the kits is scheduled to be completed by December 2011, and the retrofit completed by fall 2012.

The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for over-the-hill and around-the-corner reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition in support of tactical units. The U.S. Army uses Raven systems for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning, and force protection. Each Raven system consists of three aircraft, two ground control stations, plus spares.

International purchasers of Raven systems include Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, and Norway.

Dept. of Defense photo by Lance Cpl. James Purschwitz, U.S. Marine Corps.