AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven
|During the Iraq War, a U.S. Army soldier assembles an RQ-11 Raven unmanned aerial vehicle in Taji, Iraq.|
|Role||Remote controlled UAV|
|First flight||October 2001|
|Status||In use on combat field|
|Primary users||United States Army
United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps, United States Special Forces, international land forces
|Number built||19,000+ airframes|
|Developed from||FQM-151 Pointer|
The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a small hand-launched remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (or SUAV) developed for the United States military, but now adopted by the military forces of many other countries.
The RQ-11 Raven was originally introduced as the FQM-151 in 1999, but in 2002 developed into its current form, resembling an enlarged FAI class F1C free flight model aircraft in general appearance. The craft is launched by hand and powered by a pusher configuration electric motor. The plane can fly up to 6.2 miles (10.0 km) at altitudes of appx 500 feet (150 m) above ground level (AGL), and over 15,000 feet (4,600 m) above mean sea level (MSL), at flying speeds of 28-60 mph (45–97 km/h).
Design and development
The Raven RQ-11B UAV system is manufactured by AeroVironment. It was the winner of the US Army's SUAV program in 2005, and went into Full-Rate Production (FRP) in 2006. Shortly afterwards, it was also adopted by the US Marines, and the US Air Force for their ongoing FPASS Program. It has also been adopted by the military forces of many other countries (see below). More than 19,000 Raven airframes have been delivered to customers worldwide to date. A new Digital Data Link-enabled version of Raven now in production for US Forces and allies has improved endurance, among many other improvements.
The Raven can be either remotely controlled from the ground station or fly completely autonomous missions using GPS waypoint navigation. The UAV can be ordered to immediately return to its launch point simply by pressing a single command button. Standard mission payloads include CCD color video cameras and an infrared night vision camera.
The RQ-11B Raven UAV weighs about 1.9 kg (4.2 lb), has a flight endurance of 60–90 minutes and an effective operational radius of approximately 10 km (6.2 miles).
The RQ-11B Raven UAV is launched by hand, thrown into the air like a free flight model airplane. The Raven lands itself by auto-piloting to a pre-defined landing point and then performing a 45° slope (1 foot down for every 1 foot forward) controlled "Autoland" descent. The UAV can provide day or night aerial intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance.
In mid-2015, the U.S. Marine Corps tested the Small Secure Data Link (SSDL), a device that fits onto a Raven's nose to provide beyond line-of-sight communications for Marines down to squad level. Acting as communications nodes for ground forces has become an important function for UAVs, but has been restricted to larger platforms like the RQ-4 Global Hawk or RQ-21 Blackjack. At just 25 cubic centimeters (3 inches by 5.3 inches by 1.6 inches) and weighing 18 oz (0.51 kg), the SSDL is the smallest, lightest, and lowest-power VHF/UHF software-defined radio certified, and allows the small Raven UAV to extend communications for troops in the field.
In August 2015, selected units began receiving upgrades to their Raven sensors. The Raven Gimbal is a camera that replaces the fixed day or night camera that required moving the entire aircraft to look with a 360-degree gimbal with day and night settings that can switch between white hot, black hot, and color without landing and swapping sensors. The payload also replaces the stationary front camera with a single front-mounted lens.
- RQ-11A Raven A (no longer in production)
- RQ-11B Raven B
- RQ-11B eight channel
- RQ-11B DDL (Digital Data Link)
- Solar Raven - In November 2012, the Air Force Research Laboratory integrated lightweight, flexible, high-efficiency solar panels into the Raven platform. The additional power from the solar panels increased the Raven's endurance by 60%. The solar cells were successfully integrated onto the removable wing sections of the UAV. They are 20 square centimeters in size and adhere to the wings of the vehicle using a clear, protective plastic film and an adhesive. The cells were integrated into the existing power system to augment the lithium ion battery. Future improvements include improving the durability of the solar panels and reducing their weight. Integration work is also being conducted on the AeroVironment Wasp and the RQ-20 Puma.
The Raven is used by the United States Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Special Operations Command. Additionally, foreign customers include Australia, Estonia, Italy, Denmark, Spain and Czech Republic. As of early 2012, over 19,000 airframes have already been shipped, making it the most widely adopted UAV system in the world today.
The British forces in Iraq used Raven equipment. The Royal Danish Army acquired 12 Raven systems in September 2007 - three systems will be delivered to the Huntsmen Corps, while the remainder will be deployed with soldiers from the Artillery Training Center. A 2010 documentary film, Armadillo, shows Danish forces deploying a Raven in operations around FOB Armadillo in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The drone also makes an appearance being used by the SEAL operators in the 2012 film Act of Valor.
The Netherlands MoD has acquired 72 operational RQ-11B systems with a total value of $23.74 million for use within Army reconnaissance units, its Marine Corps and its Special Forces (KCT). At the turn of the year 2009 to 2010 the systems were deployed above the village Veen, as part of the Intensification of Civil-Military Cooperation. In 2012 and 2013 the Raven was loaned by the Defense department to the police department of Almere to combat burglary.
In April 2011, the U.S. announced that it would be supplying 85 Raven B systems to the Pakistan Army.
In June 2011, the U.S. announced $145.4 million in proposed aid for anti-terror efforts in north and east Africa, including four Raven systems to be used by forces from Uganda and Burundi as part of the ongoing African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The US has also announced its intent to supply an unspecified number of Ravens to the Ukrainian armed forces.
- Czech Republic
- Iraq 
- Lebanon 12 systems
- Macedonia unknown
- Saudi Arabia
- United Kingdom
- United States 5,000
- Pakistan 
Capture by Iran
Iran has claimed it has captured two RQ-11, one "in Shahrivar 1390 (August 21-September 19, 2011) and the other one in Aban (October 22-November 20, 2012)". It also indicated that "much of the data of these drones has been decoded", but did not indicate whether the drone has been duplicated, as has been done with the RQ-170 and the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle.
- Wing Span 4.5 ft (1372 mm)
- Length 3 ft (915 mm)
- Weight 4.2 lb (1906 g)
- Engine Aveox 27/26/7-AV electric motor
- Cruising speed approx. 30 kn (56 km/h)
- Range 6.2 miles (10 km)
- Endurance approx. 60-90 min
- DRDO Imperial Eagle
- EMT Aladin
- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
- RQ11B Simulador
- History of unmanned aerial vehicles
- Related lists
- "RQ-11 Raven". GlobalSecurity.org. Archived from the original on 21 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Tomlinson, Cpl Ryan L (2008-05-14). "Gunfighter debuts Raven". IIMEF, Official Site US Marine Core, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Bn. Retrieved 2010-02-23.[dead link]
- "RQ-11 Raven". Army-technology.com. Retrieved 2009-10-09.
- "RQ-11 Raven datasheet" (PDF). AeroVironment. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-08.
- Data link lets even small UAVs serve as secure comm nodes - Defensesystems.com, 1 July 2015
- Troopers receive new Raven UAS camera upgrade - Army.mil, 21 August 2015
- Solar Raven - SUASNews.com, November 17, 2012
- "Gallery: The Complete UAV Field Guide; Current: RQ-11B Raven (AeroVironment)". Popular Science. February 23, 2010. Archived from the original on 30 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-01.
- "US Raven "loan" to MoD". UAV News. October 3, 2006. Archived from the original on 14 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-30.
- Ravens, Mini-UAVs Winning Gold Afghanistan’s “Commando Olympics”
- "Netherlands Ministry of Defence: Raven Small UAS ready for use". Defensie.nl. September 1, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-01.[dead link]
- "Vliegende nachtkijkers ingezet tijdens jaarwisseling". Defensie.nl. January 1, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-04.[dead link]
- "AlmereSpionagevliegtuigje ingezet tegen inbraken". OmroepFlevoland.nl. January 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-28.
- "US to Provide 85 Hand-Launched RQ-11 Raven UAVs to Pakistan". Pakistan Military Review. April 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- "US allocates US$145 million to fight terrorism in north, east Africa". defenceWeb. June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- "New Bird of Prey Hunts Somali Terrorists: Raven Drones". Wired.com. June 27, 2011. Retrieved 2011-07-07.
- Baldor, Lolita C.; Pickler, Nedra (March 11, 2015). "US to Send Ukraine Drones, More Aid, but No Lethal Weapons". ABC News. Associated Press.
- "http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140513/DEFREG02/305130034/Canadian-Army-Navy-Develop-Ambitious-Plans-AF-Fights-Delays". www.defensenews.com. 2014-05-13. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- Colombia; US donates ScanEagle UAV's to FAC - Dmilt.com, March 19, 2013
- "Czech military to buy two MUAVs for Afghanistan". ČTK (Czech Press Agency, www.ctk.cz). October 2, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- "Iraqi Army's UAVs give troops the big picture". Army.mil. Retrieved 2010-03-28.
- "Lebanon to receive US-built UAV's". defence.professionals (defpro). April 16, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- "Heavy U.S. Military Aid to Lebanon Arrives ahead of Elections". Naharnet Newsdesk. April 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-09.
- "Lebanon gets Raven mini UAV from U.S.". United Press International. March 23, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-24.[dead link]
- US delivers military vehicles to Lebanese Army. Daily Star, March 24, 2009.
-  Drones from Washington arrived in Macedonia
- Raven numbers - Strategypage.com, February 19, 2013
- Ansari, Usman (May 9, 2009). "Pakistan reported developing armed UAV". Retrieved April 15, 2013.
- FarsNews September 22, 2013 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920631000264
- LiveLeak.com - Iranian Copy Of The US UAV Scan Eagle
- Iran Claims To Have Captured Another US Drone - Business Insider
- "RQ-11 Raven". Popular Science: 12. March 2006.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to RQ-11 Raven.|
- Army-Technology RQ-11 Raven Project Details
- RQ-11 Raven Details on Globalsecurity.org
- Newsweek's Interactive Graphic. Raven: The Tiniest Drone
- Video of RQ-11 Raven launch from building in Najaf, Iraq
- Danish page about Raven
- AeroVironment, Inc.
- RQ11B Simulator