February 01, 2011      

AeroVironment Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV) announced that it received a firm fixed-price order valued at $7,800,003 under an existing contract with the U.S. Army on January 25, 2011. The order comprises 919 digital module upgrade kits for the U.S. Marine Corps. The upgrade kits enable digital Raven unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to operate using a different frequency band than provided by the stock configuration. Funding for this order was appropriated for RQ-11B Raven system procurement in the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December 2009. Work is scheduled to be completed by April 30, 2011. 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. U.S. armed forces use Raven systems for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning, and force protection. Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, two ground control stations, and spares. International purchasers of Raven systems include Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, and Norway. In addition to the Raven system, AV’s small UAS include Puma and Wasp, which are also hand-launched and controlled by AV’s hand-held ground control station.