MONROVIA, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has contracted AeroVironment Inc. for the company's small unmanned aerial vehicle with new communication technologies.
California-based AV has received a contract to produce 50 of its Raven RQ-11B small UAS with the company's recently developed Digital Data Link technologies. The new Raven production order, part of an existing contract with the Army, is worth more than $16.75 million.
Officials say DDL technology enables greater communication capabilities for the Raven, a 4.2 pound UAS deployed by the U.S. military for surveillance and reconnaissance in combat zones.
Under the contract, AV will deliver 50 of its Raven UAS with the DDL technology and supply kits for 206 existing Raven systems.
"This DDL 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," John Grabowsky, executive vice president and general manager of the UAS segment, said in a statement.
"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."