The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (or SUAV) developed for the U.S. military, but now adopted by the military forces of many other countries.
The RQ-11 Raven was originally introduced as the FQM-151 in 1999, but in 2002 developed into its current form, resembling an enlarged FAI class F1C free flight model aircraft in general appearance. The craft is launched by hand and powered by a pusher configuration electric motor. The plane can fly up to 6.2 miles (10.0 km) at altitudes of appx 500 feet (150 m) above ground level (AGL), and over 15,000 feet (4,600 m) above mean sea level (MSL), at flying speeds of 28-60 mph (45–97 km/h).
Design and Development
The Raven RQ-11B UAV system is manufactured by AeroVironment. It was the winner of the US Army’s SUAV program in 2005, and went into Full-Rate Production (FRP) in 2006. Shortly afterwards, it was also adopted by USSOCOM, the US Marines, and the US Air Force for their ongoing FPASS Program. It has also been adopted by the military forces of many other countries (see below). More than 19,000 Raven airframes have been delivered to customers worldwide to date. A new Digital Data Link-enabled version of Raven now in production for US Forces and allies has improved endurance, among many other improvements.
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 cameras and an infrared night vision camera.
The RQ-11B Raven UAV weighs about 1.9 kg (4.2 lb), has a flight endurance of 60–90 minutes and an effective operational radius of approximately 10 km (6.2 miles).
The RQ-11B Raven UAV is launched by hand, thrown into the air like a free flight model airplane. The Raven lands itself by auto-piloting to a pre-defined landing point and then performing a 45° slope (1 foot down for every 1 foot forward) controlled “Autoland” descent. The UAV can provide day or night aerial intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance.
RQ-11A Raven A (no longer in production)
RQ-11B Raven B
RQ-11B eight channel
RQ-11B DDL (Digital Data Link)
In November 2012, the Air Force Research Laboratory integrated lightweight, flexible, high-efficiency solar panels into the Raven platform. The additional power from the solar panels increased the Raven’s endurance by 60%. The solar cells were successfully integrated onto the removable wing sections of the UAV. They are 20 square centimeters in size and adhere to the wings of the vehicle using a clear, protective plastic film and an adhesive. The cells were integrated into the existing power system to augment the lithium ion battery. Future improvements include improving the durability of the solar panels and reducing their weight. Integration work is also being conducted on the AeroVironment Wasp and the RQ-20 Puma.
The Raven is used by the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command. Additionally, foreign customers include Australia, Estonia, Italy, Denmark, Spain and Czech Republic. As of early 2012, over 19,000 airframes have already been shipped, making it the most widely adopted UAV system in the world today.
The British forces in Iraq are using U.S. Raven equipment and personnel on loan. The Royal Danish Army acquired 12 Raven systems in September 2007 – three systems will be delivered to the Huntsmen Corps, while the remainder will be deployed with soldiers from the Artillery Training Center. A 2010 documentary film, Armadillo, shows Danish forces deploying a Raven in operations around FOB Armadillo in the Helmand province of Afghanistan.
The Netherlands MoD has acquired 72 operational RQ-11B systems with a total value of $23.74 million for use within Army reconnaissance units, its Marine Corps and its Special Forces (KCT). At the turn of the year 2009 to 2010 the systems were deployed above the village Veen, as part of the Intensification of Civil-Military Cooperation. In 2012 and 2013 the Raven was loaned by the Defense department to the police department of Almere to combat burglary.
In April 2011, the U.S. announced that it would be supplying 85 Raven B systems to the Pakistan Army.
In June 2011, the U.S. announced $145.4 million in proposed aid for anti-terror efforts in north and east Africa, including four Raven systems to be used by forces from Uganda and Burundi as part of the ongoing African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.
Lebanon 12 systems
United States 5,000
Powerplant: Aveox 27/26/7-AV electric motor
|Max. Takeoff Weight|