(AV) has been awarded a Phase II contract by the USDefense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) to design and build a flying prototype for the Nano Air Vehicle (NAV) program.
AV completed a preliminary design review at the end of its Phase I, $1.7m program. Phase II, which was initiated in March, is a new six-month, $636,000 development program that will culminate with the demonstration of a rudimentary, 7.5cm flapping-wing air vehicle.
The NAV program was initiated by DARPA to develop a new class of air vehicles capable of indoor and outdoor operations. Employing biomimetics at an extremely small scale this unconventional aircraft is designed to provide new military reconnaissance capabilities in urban environments.
AV's NAV will weigh no more than 10g and have the ability to carry a payload of up to 2g. AV's NAV team has already developed the Black Widow and Wasp MAVs for DARPA.
‘Our Raven and Wasp III unmanned aircraft system (UAS) began as early development programs similar to the NAV program, and now help protect the lives and enhance the operational effectiveness of warfighters and first responders,’ said John Grabowsky, AV executive vice president and general manager of unmanned aircraft systems.
US armed forces use AV's hand-launched UAS for missions including base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning, battle damage assessment and force protection. The US Army reported that its Ravens were flown for approximately 150,000 combat hours in 2007. AV has delivered over 9,000 small, unmanned aircraft to date, including Raven, Wasp and Puma.