At Land Forces 2016 small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment today announced it is teaming with Australia-based XTEK, Sentient Vision and General Dynamics (GD) Mediaware to deliver it's family of Unmanned Aircraft Systems to the Australian market.
The team will offer the AeroVironment Wasp AE Micro Air Vehicle, designated as the RQ-12A by the US Department of Defense, to the Australian Armed Forces.
“Teaming with XTEK, Sentient and General Dynamics Mediaware for delivery and sustainment is key to ensuring our customer’s success as its forces rely on the advanced, versatile and life-saving capabilities of our Wasp AE systems to proceed with certainty,” Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment said.
“Wasp AE is an all-environment small unmanned aircraft system designed for reliable and effective operation in real-world environments,” he added. "It enhances our fully digital family of small unmanned aircraft systems and incorporates the advanced capabilities of Puma AE and Raven into a smaller, lighter and more portable package for rapid deployment and minimal logistics support.”
Each Wasp AE system consists of two air vehicles and one ground control system (GCS). “It delivers – in a man-packable asset – exceptional features of superior imagery, increased endurance, encrypted video and ease of use that is inherent in all AeroVironment UAS solutions,” Flittie said.
The 1.3 kilogram MAV has a 29-inch wingspan and is designed for ground and water landing, making it suitable for both land and maritime missions. It carries interchangeable payload modules and incorporates the smallest of AeroVironment's Mantis suite of miniature gimbaled payloads, the 275 gram Mantis i22 AE, giving operators both color and infrared video imagery from a single sensor package.
Operating virtually undetected, Wasp AE’s mechanically stabilized EO/IR gimbal payload transmits advanced imagery, even in windy conditions, for mission effectiveness. It also features hand-launch capabilities, with a deep-stall landing in confined areas on land or water. It further can be operated manually or programmed for autonomous operation using the system’s advanced avionics and precise GPS navigation.
Wasp AE is operated from AeroVironment’s time-tested and proven GCS with a communications range of 5 km and flight endurance of 50 minutes. AeroVironment’s common GCS interfaces with all of its tactical ISR air vehicles reducing the level of training required and decreasing the time and cost involved.