RQ-11 Raven

Product Type:

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)

Using Service (US):

Army, USMC, and SOCOM

Program Status:

In Production

Prime Contractors:


The RQ-11 Raven

About the RQ-11 Raven:

The AeroVironment RQ-11 Raven is a small man-portable lightweight Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) designed to provide tactical Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) in support of forward-deployed troops.

There are two systems with the RQ-11 designation, the RQ-11B Raven and the RQ-11A Wasp. Another small UAS used by the U.S. military is the AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma. On this page, we only present the RQ-11B Raven.

The Raven is launched by hand into the air like a model airplane and lands itself using its built-in auto-pilot. The UAV provides real-time direct situational awareness and target information for U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (SOCOM) personnel and Air Force security forces, the U.S. Army, and the U.S. Marine Corps. The Air Force purchased the Raven to replace the Desert Hawk and Pointer UAS.

The Raven is capable of handling a wide variety of Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) tasks. The RQ-11B has a wingspan of 4.5 feet and weighs 4.2 pounds. The RQ-11 provides aerial observation, day or night, at line of sight ranges up to 10 kilometers. The aircraft has an endurance rate of 90 minutes and can deliver color or infrared imagery in real time to the ground control station (GCS) and remote video terminal.

The Raven system consists of three RQ-11B Raven air vehicles, two Ground Control Stations (GCS), one Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) kit and one Field Repair Kit (FRK). The RSTA kit is used for mission planning, autonomous flight operations and mission product archiving. The FRK contains consumable items used during operations and maintenance.

The Raven's GCS is compact and lightweight and displays real-time video and imagery captured by the RQ-11's cameras. The GCS can easily be assembled/disassembled in two minutes. The processing, retrieving and storing of real-time data is carried out at the GCS. The GCS can also playback videos for target evaluation and facilitate retransmission of videos and meta data. The GCS can be operated as a remote video terminal when implanted at remote locations and allows command centers to view and analyze the data.

New Ravens are equipped with the Mantis i23 EO/IR Gimbaled Mini-Payload with high-resolution day/night camera and thermal imager. Older Ravens can be retrofitted with the i23. The Army and USMC are currently retrofitting their RQ-11s.

Abroad, the RQ-11 is used by the military forces of Australia, Denmark, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain. According to AeroVironment, over 11,000 Raven UAVs have been delivered to customers worldwide.




A full RQ-11 system with 3 UAVs, ground control station, video terminal and associated spares and other equipment has a price tag of about $300,000 (in FY 2012). The unit cost (just the aerial vehicle) is $34,000 (in FY 2012).


The RQ-11 Raven is an "over the hill" rucksack-portable, day/night, limited adverse weather, remotely-operated, multi-sensor system in support of combat battalions and below as well as selected combat support units.

FY 2014 DoD Program:

FY 2014 Army funding in the amount of $10.4M will purchase 103 EO/IR gimbaled payload retrofits and logistics support. FY 2014 USMC funding in the amount of $4.5M will procure 15 EO/IR gimbaled payloads and RQ-11A WASP IV and RQ-20A PUMA components to support and sustain contingency operations. FY 2014 SOCOM funding in the amount of $0.9M will purchase two SOF-unique RQ-11B Raven UAS + ancillary equipment and EO/IR payloads.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

Army: FY 2015 procurement funds in the amount of $4.0 million will purchase 60 EO/IR Gimbaled Payload Retrofits to previously procured Raven Aircraft, Program Management, Engineering, Logistics and New Equipment Training (NET).

USMC: FY 2015 procurement funds in the amount of $4.5 million will purchase 91 RQ-11B EO/IR gimbaled payloads as well as WASP IV and PUMA components to support and sustain operations.

SOCOM: FY 2015 procurement funds in the amount of $6.4 million will purchase 10 SOF-unique RQ-11B Raven UAS + ancillary equipment and EO/IR payloads.

For more information, please view downloadable DoD budget data in PDF format below.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and AeroVironment

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2015 Budget

Last Update: October 23, 2014.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (jkasper@bga-aeroweb.com)

External Resources:

AeroVironment: RQ-11B Raven
AeroVironment: Mantis i23 EO/IR Gimbaled Payload
AeroVironment: Ground Control System (GCS)

YouTube: RQ-11 Raven | YouTube Videos

Fact Sheet: RQ-11B Raven (USAF) | Fact Sheet
Data Sheet: RQ-11B Raven | Data Sheet

RQ-11 Raven Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the RQ-11 Raven in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
DoD Purchases of RQ-11B Raven UAVs in FY 2011, FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014 and FY 2015
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2011/12/13 + Budget for FYs 2014 + 2015

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the RQ-11 Raven

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of RQ-11B UAS (ARMY) Purchases of RQ-11B UAS (USMC)
Purchases of RQ-11B UAS (SOCOM)

Aircraft Specifications: RQ-11B Raven

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Primary Function: Tactical reconnaissance and surveillance (low-altitude operation)
Prime Contractor: AeroVironment, Inc.
Power Plant: Electric Motor with rechargeable lithium ion batteries
Wingspan: 4.5 ft (1.37 m)
Length: 36 in (109 cm)
Weight: 4.2 lbs (1.9 kg)
Weight (ground control unit): 17 lbs (7.7 kg)
Payload: Mantis i23 EO/IR Gimbaled Payload with high-resolution day/night camera and thermal imager
Speed: 26-52 kts/30-60 mph (48-96 km/h)
Operating Altitude: 100-500 ft above ground level (30.5-152.4 m)
Range: 4.9-7.5 miles (8-12 km)
Endurance: 60-90 minutes
System Cost: $300,000 (in FY 2012)
Price/Unit Cost: UAV: $34,000 (in FY 2012)
Deployed: 2004

Defense Program

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