By Rich Smith
Monrovia, Calif.-based AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV ) has won from the U.S. Army a $13.5 million order for its unmanned aerial vehicles.
On Wednesday, AeroVironment announced the order, which constitutes the final tranche of a 2012 contract originally valued at $65.9 million, but which is actually ending at only $59.6 million. On order are an unspecified number of RQ-11B Raven unmanned aircraft systems, plus miniature gimbaled payloads, and spare parts. Delivery of the Ravens is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2013.
The Raven, a 4.5 pound UAV small enough to be carried in a backpack and launched by hand, provides real-time day and night video imagery to soldiers controlling it from a portable ground control station. It is designed to give small units the ability to look “over the hill” and “around the corner” — to let soldiers see enemies before they are themselves seen.
In addition to use by U.S. forces, the Raven is in use by the militaries of 24 international partners, according to the company.