RQ-11 Raven UAV Drone Cost, Specs, Review, Manufacturer – AeroVironment has delivered more than 13,000 small unmanned aerial vehicles (SUAVs) to many airlines around the world, making it the most widely used UAV of its kind.
RQ-11 Raven UAV Drone Cost, Specs, Review, Manufacturer
|Type||AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven|
|Year of development||2003|
|Development Status||Active, in-service|
|Engine||Aveox 27/26/7-AV electric motor-driven piston twin-blade propeller|
|Top Speed||30 knots (35 mph)|
MilitaryEzyInfo.com – AeroVironment’s RQ-11 Raven is classified as a small unmanned aerial vehicle (SUAV), which is directly related to its adjustable size and weight.
About the development of the RQ-11 Raven
The Raven is based on the FQM-151 “Pointer,” a civilian SUAV introduced in 1999 and subsequently used by the Army and Marine Corps. AeroVironment, Incorporated, led by flight engineer Paul McCready, was founded in 1971 and is based in Monrovia, California.
The company has since produced a number of ingenious technological products, including the first practical human-powered airplane, several solar-powered aircraft, the Global Observer solar and hydrogen-powered drone, the Sunraycer vehicle, and a replica of the Pterodactyl flying dinosaur. The RQ-11 was used to create the Global Observer.
RQ-11 Raven Drone
Currently, troops from Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom (on loan from the United States, Burundi, and Uganda) are using Raven SUVs to fight the rebels in Somalia.
The Raven is capable of performing a variety of airborne missions in both military and civilian applications, but it is best known for its military targeting, used to find visually interesting targets, gather intelligence on the surrounding area, and conduct reconnaissance.
Total Production of RQ-11s
To date, about 13,000 Ravens have been produced and are being used extensively by SOCOM (Special Forces), the US Army, and the Air Force in the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The drone, though small, has proven useful at the brigade, company, and small unit levels, providing real-time information on combat operations.
First flight of the RQ-11
The Raven first flew in 2001 and was officially launched in 2003, with mass production beginning in 2006 at a cost to the US taxpayer of $35,000 per unit. The Raven can cost up to $250,000, including the aircraft and its associated control station.
The Raven resembles an aircraft in conventional drone design, but the system’s main features are its compact size and portable operation.
To operate the Raven, participants simply point the nose of the aircraft upward and launch it into the air. The main operational components are housed in a rectangular fuselage, which is connected by a curved nose cone, which houses the key camera matrix.
The fuselage contains a dual EO CCD camera for forwarding use with pan and zoom capability and full stabilization, as well as an infrared night vision camera for forward and lateral imaging.
The tail extends from the underside of Raven’s fuselage with a single vertical tail fin that is integrated with the horizontal tail plate. The Raven’s main wings slope upward from the fuselage.
To propel the small UAV in the air, a simple two-bladed propeller is installed at the top of the rear of the fuselage (“push” system). The aircraft is powered by an Avix 27/26/7-AV electric motor with a maximum speed of 56 km/h and a mission endurance of about 1 to 1.5 hours.
Dimensions of the Raven RQ-11
The vehicle is 55 inches long, has a wingspan of 4.5 feet, and an operating weight of 4.2 pounds. These factors allow it to be carried in a standard backpack.
The RQ-11 can operate day or night with a range of up to 10 km
The RQ-11 can operate day and night using day and thermal camera systems and can be operated by a ground operator or configured to fly independently around specific waypoints using GPS navigation.
Unlike the largest and most capable unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) platforms available today, Raven’s aerial reconnaissance capability is limited to line-of-sight operations within 10 km, transmitting full-color, real-time video. The software has a built-in “auto-landing” feature that allows it to be recycled and reused.
Mass production of RQ-11
The Raven series was originally produced in the form of the RQ-11A, but no longer exists in that form. The U.S. Army purchased at least 376 Raven A models (after being selected as the winner of the Army’s SUAV competition), followed by the “enhanced” RQ-11B Raven B. Eight RQ-11B channels were also produced, as well as the RQ-11B DDL with digital data links for frequency control and interoperability.
The Model B is based on the original Raven design, with improved endurance and capability, including support for IR illumination, higher GPA, reduced weight, and improved optics.
Full-scale production of the Model B began on October 5, 2006, with a sample of 80 units shipped by the end of the year.