The U.S. Army now has a new sensor package for its Raven (RQ-11B) UAV. The new sensor system includes a gimbaled camera and laser designator. A day vidscam or a night vision one can quickly be mounted on a Raven. The only change needed for the new gimbaled controller is a software upgrade. With the gimbaled camera the operator can quickly move the field-of-view around without having to move the aircraft. What’s impressive about the new sensor package is that it weighs less than 450 gm (one pound). The progress people see in their cell phone cameras is also showing up in UAVs, especially the micro (under 6 kg/11 pound) class ones.
Introduced nine years ago, the current Raven weighs two kilograms (4.4 pounds). This is about ten percent heavier than the original model, but much more capable in terms of performance. Over 6,000 Ravens have been built so far and this UAV dominates the micro-UAV market.