Warplanes: October 15, 2003


American infantry platoons and Special Forces teams are getting their own private air force in the form of a new lightweight (four pound) UAV that is launched by hand (you start the motor and throw it). The Raven UAV is an upgrade (and much downsized) version of the earlier Pointer UAV. The Raven is a very rugged and reliable miniature aircraft, each one costing about $25,000. The Raven can carry a high resolution color camera, or a thermal (heat) imager for use at night or overcast weather. The Raven can fly as high as 3,000 feet, and as far as fifteen kilometers from it's launch point. It can move as fast as 90 kilometers an hour, but generally cruises at about half that speed. Guidance is via GPS and it lands automatically at a pre-programmed location. Each Raven system consists of two or three aircraft, spare parts (and tools to install them) and a laptop computer to program the guidance system and view the pictures taken. All of this can be carried by one man (as it weighs less than 30 pounds). Each sortie by a Raven lasts less than an hour. The army ordered the Raven's six months ago, and the fifteen it just received are being sent to Afghanistan. That will be quite a test, because the cold and winds in the mountains, not to mention the thin air, will provide a challenging environment. 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close