AeroVironment Unveils Modular Gimbaled Sensor Payload on RQ-11B Raven Small Unmanned Aircraft System

April 02, 2012
  • Improves situational awareness for Raven system operators 
  • Delivers higher visual fidelity and improved target tracking 
  • One of four products in AeroVironment's new Mantis suite of gimbaled payloads for unmanned aircraft systems and other applications

NASHVILLE, at Army Aviation Association of America, April 2, 2012 -- AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) today unveiled a new miniature gimbaled sensor payload on the battle-proven RQ-11B Raven small unmanned aircraft system at the Army Aviation Association of America Annual Professional Forum and Exposition.

The modular payload includes a high-resolution color and an infrared thermal video sensor, as well as a laser illuminator integrated into a multi-axis sphere capable of continuous pan. The new payload will become a standard component of future Raven systems and will be sold as an upgrade for previously fielded units. Upgrading existing digital Raven systems to accommodate the new payload requires only a software update to each air vehicle and ground control station.

The new payload is one of four products offered in AeroVironment's Mantis™ suite of gimbaled sensor payloads now available for commercial applications including unmanned aircraft systems, manned aircraft, ground vehicles and watercraft.

A gimbaled sensor payload enhances the Raven system's capabilities by allowing a higher level of visual fidelity and continuous observation of an item of interest regardless of the air vehicle's flight direction. The new payload also replaces two separate Raven system payloads previously required for day and night operation, one containing a stationary electro-optical sensor, the other a stationary infrared sensor. Flight algorithms allow the air vehicle to manage its own flight path based on what the user wants to see, rather than requiring the user to control both the air vehicle and the sensor separately.

Tom Herring, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment said, "Operators rely on the portable Raven system to provide critical, live aerial video that gives troops situational awareness, whenever and wherever they need it. Our new mini-gimbal payload significantly increases the Raven system's capability and can be quickly and easily integrated into the thousands of digitally enabled air vehicles already deployed. The net result is a more capable solution for protecting and serving the warfighter for a fraction of the cost of a new system."

Integrating the new gimbaled sensor payload marks the fourth upgrade to the Raven system since its introduction in 2003 and follows the successful introduction of AeroVironment's digital data link (DDL) to replace the Raven system's original analog communication modules.

"By continuously working with customers to understand their needs and desires and improving the Raven system to address them, AeroVironment continues to deliver cost-effective solutions that help them succeed," said Herring.


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, tactical missile systems and electric vehicle charging and test systems, and serves militaries, government agencies, businesses and consumers. 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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