Defence Industry

Small UAV Raven
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Net Edition | Date : 16 Nov , 2011

Pilots might dismiss Ravens as radio-controlled toys, but they are popular with soldiers in Afghanistan. The American army’s entire annual purchase of almost 1,300 Ravens is thus lighter than a single fully armed Reaper. The two-kilogram RQ-11B Raven from AeroVironment of Monrovia, California looks like a model aircraft and can fit into a backpack.

UAV_RQ-11_RavenThe Raven is like a quiet flying pair of binoculars that can get close to targets unobserved. Unlike the bigger drones, Ravens are abundant and available to provide instant video imagery, day or night. Special display software overlays the images on a map to produce a moving picture of activity on the ground. An operator can thus direct artillery fire with lethal precision without visual contact with the target. The Raven also carries a laser designator.

Ravens are now being upgraded to use a communications system that provides enough bandwidth for 40 instead of the current four to fly in the same area.

To provide greater punch, AeroVironment has a prototype version of a lethal drone called ‘Switchblade’ which resembles the Raven but is a flying bomb packed with explosives. Its guidance software enables it to lock on to and follow a rapidly moving target.

At $56,000 a piece, Ravens are extremely attractive while machines like the Predator cost at least $5 million and $5,000 an hour to fly.

Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left