Predator's "Little Cousin" Able To Stay Aloft For 1.5
It may look like little more than a glorified R/C park flyer...
but the little cousin of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper is
making a big splash at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, as the
RQ-11B Raven program takes flight.
The Raven is a small unmanned aerial vehicle used to conduct
visual reconnaissance up to ten kilometers away, said Staff Sgt.
Daniel Garcia of the Force Protection Aerial Surveillance System
Flight at Bagram.
The Raven itself is very small, a little more than four pounds,
but packs a big punch in the area of surveillance. It can fly at a
height of 10,000 feet above sea-level and remotely sends live
footage back to the operator, where it is recorded for later
"The Raven can fly in several different patterns," said Sergeant
Garcia. "It can fly in a predetermined pattern, circle an area or
be controlled remotely by an operator."
The Raven doesn't have landing gear but is designed to break
apart on impact to prevent damage to the structure of the UAV
itself and can be reassembled in minutes.
The camera provides high-resolution imagery up to 500 feet above
the terrain, with location coordinates built into the display, and
can remain aloft for one and a half hours on a single charge, said
The RQ-11B also has several benefits over earlier models.
"This is a more durable UAV and it is much easier to launch,"
said Col. Steven Ross, chief of the anti-terrorism office at U.S.
Transportation Command. "The former model had to be launched like a
giant slingshot. This one can be hand launched."
The biggest benefit of the UAV is in creating a visual data to
base defense forces without having to launch a regular-sized
The tactical advantage of having a small aircraft capable of
transmitting images without putting pilots in harm's way can be
summed up with just a few words.
"Being able to see the enemy first is key," Colonel Ross
(Aero-News salutes Staff Sgt. Mike Andriacco, 455th Air
Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs)