Information Papers

Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System

What is it?  
The Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System (RQ-11) provides the small unit the organic capability to perform “beyond visual line of sight” reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition coverage of marginal maneuver areas.  Commanders from brigade to company level will have greater ability to shape over-the-hill operations with their own dedicated unmanned aircraft system (UAS).  Raven is a hand-launched and rucksack portable UAS made up of three air vehicles, a ground control unit, a remote video terminal, electro-optical and infrared payloads, and a field repair kit.  Raven continues to be instrumental in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. As of October 2007, it has logged more than 32,600 flight hours.

What has the Army done?  
The Army procured 376 Raven A models to support the Global War on Terrorism and conducted the appropriate processes for a competitive selection for the Army’s small UAS.   The Program Executive Office, Aviation, in conjunction with the Aviation and Missile Life Cycle Command, approved the Raven B system for full rate production on Oct. 5, 2006.  In FY07, the Army procured 154 Raven B models, and it plans to procure 200 more in FY08.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?  
The Army will continue to procure the Raven B UAS and will integrate a digital data link to improve frequency management and interoperability.  Additionally, Raven A models will be converted to model Bs.  Model B includes upgraded optics and infrared illumination, an upgraded ground control unit, an overall system weight reduction of 12.5 pounds, and one fielded configuration for standardization.

Why is this important to the Army? 
This approach provides commanders at the small-unit level an organic UAS.