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Marines receiving Raven upgrade kits

Jan. 31, 2011 at 2:49 PM

MONROVIA, Calif., Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Digital module upgrade kits for hand-launched Raven unmanned aerial vehicles are being provided to U.S. Marines by California's AeroVironment.

The company said the firm, fixed-priced order – valued at $7.8 million – came under an existing contract with the U.S. Army.

The order is for 919 digital module upgrade kits for the Marines that allow the Raven to operate using a different frequency band than provided by the stock configuration.

Funding for this order was appropriated for RQ-11B Raven system procurement in the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December 2009.

Work is scheduled to be completed by April 30.

The Raven unmanned aircraft is a 4.2-pound, back-packable, 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. Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, two ground control stations and spares.

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