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Marines Buy Tiny Wasp UAVs

by Matt Cox on January 23, 2013

The Marine Corps is spending $12 million on a new batch of AeroVironment Wasp AE small unmanned aircraft systems.

Naval Air Systems Command’s Program Office for Navy & Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems, working collaboratively with the United States Army’s Counter-IED Program Office, awarded a contract on Sept. 21 for the Wasp systems, initial spares packages, training services, and one year of contractor logistics support, AeroVironment announced Jan. 23.

The Naval Air Systems Command worked with the Army team to award the contract to PAR Government Systems Corporation, which in turn secured the systems and services from AeroVironment for a total value of $12,032,430. Delivery was scheduled to occur within four months of contract award.

Weighing 2.8 pounds, the Wasp AE air vehicle is designed for ground and water landing, making it suitable for both land and maritime missions, and is capable of 20 percent greater flight duration than the Wasp III.

“We introduced the Wasp AE in May of 2012 with the expectation that multiple customers would find its capabilities very compelling,” Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment, said in a press release.

“These contracts supporting the United States Marine Corps expand the adoption of Wasp AE beyond the Air Force, and support our view that this highly capable successor to the proven Wasp III system will help our customers operate more safely and effectively.”

The Wasp AE incorporates the smallest of AeroVironment’s Mantis suite of miniature gimbaled payloads, giving operators both color and infrared video imagery from a single sensor package, AeroVironment officials maintain.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance January 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Cute little thing well hope it works for small tactical ops. Well looks like it small enough you can buy spar parts at Radio Shack!!!

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SJE January 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm

How robust are these when it is windy?

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Mastro January 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm

If $12 million buys 100 of these- GREAT!

But why do I think it will buy 2- with "support"

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Chris January 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Oh my god with one of those I could outright buy my damn apartment. How about I make a few thousand out of Air Hogs and webcams and the government give us a little bonus this year?

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John Mayeski January 24, 2013 at 4:27 am
Bob January 24, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Neat system.

Two questions:
1. Why go through a third-party, PAR?
2. This citation, "Naval Air Systems Command’s Program Office for Navy & Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems" implies that there is the possibility for a Large and Medium Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems offices. Seriously, its $, schedule and quality management. Why does the service need 3 separate offices. Talk about waste and inefficiency.

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oblat January 25, 2013 at 3:55 am

The marines where dumb ideas go to get funded

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naylor February 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

you are a F***ing moron and should be beheaded for talking negatively about the units that is protecting you!

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SFP May 23, 2013 at 2:25 am

When they use the word system for a UAS they usually mean that a group of 2-4 uavs make the the “system” package which also includes spare parts, ground control stations, and containers.

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