AeroVironment Launches Production of Its New Digital Data Link with $16.8 Million Order
February 09, 2009
AV Launches Production of Its New DDL with $16.8 Million Order for Raven® Systems
MONROVIA, Calif., Feb. 9, 2009 - AeroVironment, Inc. (AV) (NASDAQ: AVAV) has received an order from the U.S. Army valued at $16,758,776 for the production of 50 new Raven® (RQ-11B) unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) equipped with AV's Digital Data Link (DDL). Announced by the U.S. Army on January 22, 2009, this production order was issued under an existing contract and includes initial spares packages and DDL retrofit kits for 206 existing Raven® systems. The introduction of AV's DDL follows several years of internally funded research and development in addition to a $7.6 million contract awarded in October 2008 for the completion of R&D activities.
"This Digital Data Link enhances the capabilities of our Raven®: system by increasing the number of communication channels by a factor of four, enabling our customers to use more Raven® systems where they need them," said John Grabowsky, executive vice president and general manager of AV's UAS segment. "Our DDL also provides enhanced communications security, and establishes the foundation for a new, highly capable and portable communications network over the battlefield. This marks the transition of an important research and development program into production."
AV designed its DDL to conform to the weight, volume and power parameters of its 4.2 pound Raven® small UAS. All of AV's small UAS originally employed a four-channel analog data link, limiting the number of aircraft that could be operated in a given geographical area. AV plans to develop a smaller version of its DDL that can be incorporated into its smallest production UAS, Wasp®. The Raven® unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for "over the hill" and "around the corner" reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units. U.S. armed forces use Raven® systems extensively for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection.
In addition to the Raven® system, AV's small UAS include Puma AE® and Wasp®, which are also hand-launched and controlled by AV's hand-held ground control station. Each aircraft in AV's family of small UAS is interoperable and tailored to address a variety of operational user needs. AV's UAS logistics operation supports systems deployed worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness. AV has delivered thousands of small unmanned aircraft to date. International purchasers of Raven® systems include Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands and Spain.
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.
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