Full-Rate production for BATMAV

The Air Force has approved the Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle for full-rate production, AeroVironment, maker of the tiny unmanned camera-carrying airplane, reports Business Wire news service. The Air Force chose AeroVironment’s Wasp III mini aircraft design, which weighs only one pound and has a wingspan of just 29 inches, to be the BATMAV in December 2006. “The rapid achievement of full-rate production means that we can now produce our Wasp III systems in higher volumes so that our customers can deploy them to the front-line units who need them,” said John Grabowsky, executive VP and GM for the company’s unmanned aircraft systems. USAF plans to acquire at least 221 BATMAV systems to equip its battlefield airmen as part of their individual operator kits. It can be carried in a backpack and launched by hand. The mini airplane carries interchangeable sensor modules, including an infrared camera, along with two integrated color cameras. With BATMAV, battlefield airmen will be able to generate real-time, organic streaming video of activities within their line-of-sight or beyond, such as on the other side of a hill, for display via an integrated monitor that they carry. The Marine Corps plans to acquire BATMAVs for use at the platoon level.