AeroVironment debuts, U.S. Air Force adopts Digital Wasp unmanned aerial vehicle


TAMPA, Fla., 23 May 2012. AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV) has unveiled its Wasp AE small unmanned aircraft system (UAS). U.S. Air Force officials issued a $2,447,949 order for AeroVironment’s Wasp AE systems under the Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle (BATMAV) program.

The Wasp AE is the latest version of AeroVironment’s Wasp small UAS, previously adopted by the Air Force and Marine Corps for small unit tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). Designed with AeroVironment’s digital data link, Wasp AE is interoperable with the company’s digital Puma, Raven, Shrike VTOL, and portable ground control station, and is capable of encrypted communication, beyond line-of-sight operation, and voice, video, text, and data relay. 

Wasp AE sports the smallest of AeroVironment’s Mantis miniature gimbaled payloads, the 275 gram Mantis i22 AE, which provides operators color and infrared video imagery from a single sensor package. Weighing 2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms), the Wasp AE air vehicle is designed for ground and water landing, making it suitable for land and maritime missions, and is capable of 20 percent greater flight duration than the Wasp.

Air Force personnel conducted engineering and user assessments of the Wasp AE over a one-year period to ensure its compliance with BATMAV program requirements.

“Wasp AE completes our fully digital family of small unmanned aircraft systems and incorporates the advanced capabilities of Puma and Raven into a smaller, lighter, and more portable package for rapid deployment and minimal logistics support,” says Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “The United States government and our own mission services team are using Wasp AE systems effectively. We believe that other military and non-military customers in the United States and abroad will find Wasp AE a compelling solution to support their tactical operations.”

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