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Unmanned Aircraft, Raven Small System (RQ-11B)

What is it?
The Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) RQ-11B provides the small unit with an enhanced situational awareness and increased force protection by providing expanded reconnaissance and surveillance coverage of marginal maneuver areas. Commanders at the company level will have greater ability to shape over-the-horizon operations with their own dedicated 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.

What has the Army done?
The Army has fielded 669 Raven systems in support of Overseas Contingency Operations 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 October 5, 2006. In FY08, the Army fielded 243 Raven B systems, working toward an end state of 2,182 systems.

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?
Having the Raven organic to small-unit commanders enables them to receive electro-optical/infra-red real time full motion video to determine how best to accomplish the mission at hand without exposing personnel to unnecessary hazards.

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