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Grunt’s eye in the sky

30 September 2013

Grunt’s eye in the sky — AeroVironment RQ-11A Raven

AeroVironmnet RQ-11 Raven on exhibit in the National Navy UDT–SEAL Museum — photo by Joseph May

AeroVironmnet RQ-11 Raven on exhibit in the National Navy UDT–SEAL Museum (note the colored arrows on the upper wing surfaces to ensure proper assembly, red-goes-to-red and green-goes-to-green) — photo by Joseph May

Ravens are small, simple, quiet and effective which make them perfect for ground based units. Flying control is either active line-of-sight as far as six to ten kilometers or autonomously with the use of pre-programmed GPS waypoints. The RQ-11 is hand launched, a person simply throws it forward into the air, and propelled by an electric motor driving a small propeller — later models have solar cells which add 60% greater endurance. Flight speed is ~20–50 mph (~32–81kph) for 1–1½ hours. Using either day or night electro-optical video cameras, Ravens can be flown ahead to scout positions, see what is behind a building or within a compound, check for developing threats beyond the wire or simply to patrol. Ravens return autonomously or upon operator command to perform a deep stall landing — again, no special requirements or preparations required for Ravens.

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