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Raven (RQ-11)- The Soldier’s UAS

Written by on Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

During both Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) the military saw a rapid growth in the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), from the Predator and Reaper to the Hunter and Raven. The use of UAS provided the U.S. military the persistence and situational awareness that was needed against an insurgency in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The Raven in particular accumulated more hours than any other UAS used by the Army and quickly became the “eye in the sky” for soldiers on the ground.

  The Raven weighs approximately four pounds and has a flight endurance of 60-90 minutes depending on the flight regime, with an effective operational radius of 6 miles. The Raven is hand launched by a soldier in the same way you would launch a paper airplane but the UAS comes equipped with a battery operated propeller on the back end of the fuselage. Once thrust into the sky the “pilot” takes the Raven airborne and during combat operations will fly the aircraft to an altitude of approximately 500 feet to observe illegal to buy antibiotics online enemy movements and provide intelligence to mounted or dismounted soldiers. The Raven is equipped with a gimbaled digitally stabilized EO/IR camera. In addition, the Raven has a GPS that allows it to fly a specific pattern or can be programmed to return to its launch point simply by pressing a single command button. The Raven conducts a “controlled-crash landing” by slowing its speed and impacting the nose cone and is designed to absorb the impact by separating into parts with no damage to the structure, camera or propulsion systems. The Raven can then be put together again and with a new battery, is ready for another flight.

Launching the Raven

  In theater the Raven quickly became the UAS of choice for close combat operations where intelligence and surveillance was needed by the soldier on the ground. As Unmanned Aircraft Systems evolve and new systems enter the battlespace, there will always be a requirement for a soldier managed and soldier controlled UAS that provides real-time information to the warfighter in harm’s way.

Raven Airborne

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