RQ-11 Raven Small UAS: Aircraft profile

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The RQ-11 Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System is a small man-portable UAS that performs reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition missions for Air Force Special Operations Command Battlefield Airmen and Air Force security forces.

RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV) flight: The RQ-11 Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System in flight. (courtesy photo)RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV) flight: The RQ-11 Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System in flight. (courtesy photo)

Features

The Raven back-packable UAS features two air vehicles or AVs, a ground control unit, remote video terminal, transit cases and support equipment. Two specially trained Airmen operate the Raven AV. The AV can be controlled manually or can autonomously navigate a preplanned route.

The Raven includes a color electro-optical camera and an infrared camera for night operations. The air vehicle is hand-launched, weighs less than 5 pounds, has a range of 10-15 kilometers and an endurance of up to 80 minutes.

RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV): Senior Airman Glenn Gerald prepares to put an RQ-11 Raven in flight during a January mission at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq. Despite weighing in at less than 5 pounds, these unmanned aerial vehicles play a vital role in securing the base and surrounding neighborhoods. Airman Gerald is a 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Raven operator. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Don Senger)RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV): Senior Airman Glenn Gerald prepares to put an RQ-11 Raven in flight during a January mission at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq. Despite weighing in at less than 5 pounds, these unmanned aerial vehicles play a vital role in securing the base and surrounding neighborhoods. Airman Gerald is a 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Raven operator. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Don Senger)

Background

The Raven system has proven itself in combat supporting U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other areas of conflict. The Raven is now used by all of the military services. Air Force security forces are currently purchasing the Raven UAS to replace its aging Desert Hawk UAS.

General Characteristics

Primary Function: Situational awareness and direct target information

Contractor: Aerovironment, Inc.

Power Plant: Electric Motor, rechargeable lithium ion batteries
Wingspan: 4.5 feet (1.37 meters)
Weight: 4.2 lbs (1.9 kilograms)
Weight (ground control unit): 17 lbs (7.7 kilograms)
Speed: 30-60 mph (26-52 knots)
Range: 8-12 km (4.9-7.45 miles)
Endurance: 60-90 minutes
Operating Altitude: 150-500 feet air ground level (45-152 meters)
System Cost: approximately $173,000 (2004 dollars)
Payload: High resolution, day/night camera and thermal imager
Date deployed: 2004
Inventory: Classified

Source: US Air Force

RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV): U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Darren Atterbery, of the 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, launches an RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the early morning hours in Taji, Iraq, May 23, 2006. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael Larson)RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV): U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Darren Atterbery, of the 4th Battalion, 42nd Field Artillery Regiment, launches an RQ-11 Raven Unmanned Aerial Vehicle in the early morning hours in Taji, Iraq, May 23, 2006. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographer's Mate 1st Class Michael Larson)

Detailed background:

Source: wikipedia.org

The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a remote-controlled miniature unmanned aerial vehicle (or MUAV) used by the U.S. military and its allies. The craft is launched by hand and powered by an electric motor. The plane can fly up to 6.2 miles (10 km) up to altitudes of 1,000 feet (305 m) above ground level (AGL), and 15,000 feet mean sea level (MSL), at flying speed of 28-60 mph.

RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV): Airman 1st Class Melvin Silva (left) and Senior Airman Glenn Gerald perform a pre-flight inspection on an RQ-11 Raven before a January mission at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq. Despite weighing in at less than 5 pounds, this unmanned aerial vehicle plays a vital role in securing the base and surrounding neighborhoods. Airmen Silva and Gerald are 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Raven operators. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Don Senger)RQ-11 Raven Small UAS (UAV): Airman 1st Class Melvin Silva (left) and Senior Airman Glenn Gerald perform a pre-flight inspection on an RQ-11 Raven before a January mission at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq. Despite weighing in at less than 5 pounds, this unmanned aerial vehicle plays a vital role in securing the base and surrounding neighborhoods. Airmen Silva and Gerald are 506th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron Raven operators. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Don Senger)

Design and development

The Raven can be either remotely controlled from the ground station or fly completely autonomous missions using GPS waypoint navigation. The UAV can be ordered to immediately return to its launch point simply by pressing a single command button. Standard mission payloads include CCD color video and an infrared night vision camera.

A single Raven costs about $25,000 and the total system costs $250,000.

The Raven is used by the US Army, Marine Corps, and Special Forces Command of the United States. Additionally, US allies such as Australia, Italy, Denmark, and Spain have also begun acquiring it, with more countries expected over the next few years. As of early 2008, over 8,000 airframes have already been shipped, making it the most prolific UAV system in the world today.

The British forces in Iraq are using U.S. Raven equipment and personnel on loan.

Denmark acquired 12 Raven systems in September 2007 - three systems will be delivered to the Army Special Forces, while the remainder will be deployed with soldiers from the Danish Army's Artillery Training Center.

The Netherlands will acquire an unspecified number of RQ-11B systems for a total value of $7.7 million.

Variants

RQ-11A Raven A (no longer in production)
RQ-11B Raven B

Operators

Australia
Denmark
Spain
Italy
Netherlands
United Kingdom
United States

More photos: RQ-11 Raven Small UAS photo gallery

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