AeroVironment to Deploy Small Unmanned Aircraft for Federal Communications Commission Post-Disaster Communications Demonstration

May 24, 2012
  • Small unmanned aircraft systems to demonstrate broadband network and long distance communications link for the FCC Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture Notice of Inquiry proceeding 
  • Multiple demonstrations planned using AeroVironment's Digital Data Link and off-the-shelf communications payloads

MONROVIA, Calif., May 24, 2012 -- AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) today announced it will employ its small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to demonstrate aerial communications capabilities for the Federal Communications Commission's Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture (DACA) Notice of Inquiry (NOI) proceeding. The DACA NOI is examining the ability to re-establish communications rapidly using aerial platform technology following a natural or man-made disaster that renders existing communications networks unusable.

AeroVironment will support the DACA program by conducting demonstrations using its family of portable, hand-launched small UAS for airborne communication relay. Transportable in a backpack or vehicle and operated using a hand-held control unit, AeroVironment's small UAS can be assembled and launched in less than five minutes and can fly for between 45 minutes and two hours, depending on the model.

The demonstrations will utilize AeroVironment's Digital Data Link (DDL), a standard component of its small UAS, as well as third party communications payloads to connect users with data and voice over long distances. The DDL enables encrypted, beyond-line-of-sight voice, video, data and text communication through each unmanned air vehicle and ground station, and will provide broadband network connectivity for the DACA demonstration. Off-the-shelf communication relay payloads carried by the small UAS will enable hand-held public safety and emergency response radios to communicate with one another over long distances or beyond-line-of-sight, and without ground-based antennas or repeaters.

AeroVironment will work with the FCC to obtain appropriate experimental licenses, coordinate the demonstrations, and showcase how portable, rapidly deployable and affordable small UAS technology can be used to support the DACA mission.

"AeroVironment's small UAS have proven themselves to be reliable, rugged, and cost-effective lifesaving tools for troops on the frontline," said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "We are seeing only the beginning of the utility these tools can deliver to military and non-military users. By demonstrating how small UAS can also provide instant communications capabilities we hope to help the FCC and industry envision valuable new applications of our technology to preserve lives, property and resources."


About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides customers with more actionable intelligence so they can proceed with certainty. Based in California, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems and tactical missile systems, and serves defense, government and commercial customers. For more information visit www.avinc.com.


Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


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Contact:
AeroVironment, Inc.
Steven Gitlin
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Mark Boyer
For AeroVironment, Inc.
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