AeroVironment(AV) [AVAV] May 30 announced it has won a $7.7 million contract from the Netherlands Ministry of Defence for the RQ-11B (Raven) small unmanned aircraft systems.

“We performed a thorough competitive selection process and the Raven came out as a clear winner,” Frans Klein, head section Unmanned Aircraft Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation, said. “Decisive elements in the selection were hand-launchability, reliability, ease of use, robustness, and proven, in-theatre operational performance.”

The order includes new aircraft systems as well as training, logistics support, and airworthiness certification.

Each Raven system typically consists of three aircraft, a ground control station, a remote video terminal, system spares, and related services. The total award value is $7.7 million and is fully funded.

“The selection of Raven by The Netherlands Ministry of Defence demonstrates confidence in its proven reliability and ability to support operational needs wherever required,” Ilker “Ike” Bayraktar, AeroVironment vice president of international initiatives, said. “This contract award is another example of AV’s continued progress in introducing this joint capability to allied military forces.”

Raven is a 4.2-pound, backpackable, hand-launched sensor platform that provides day and night, real-time video imagery for “over the hill” and “around the corner” reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition in support of tactical units.

U.S. armed forces use Ravens extensively for missions such as base security, route reconnaissance, mission planning and force protection.

In addition to Raven, AeroVironment’s small UAS include Puma and Wasp, which are also hand-launched and controlled by AV’s hand-held ground control station. The company’s UAS logistics operation supports systems deployed worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness.

AeroVironment has delivered more than 9,000 small unmanned aircraft to date. Other international purchasers of Raven include Italy, Denmark, Australia and Spain.