The US Marine Corps has placed a $12 million order for AeroVironment's Wasp AE, a small hand-launched unmanned air vehicle.
The AE, the newest model of the company's Wasp series, is already operated by the US Air Force, and the USMC purchase marks the aircraft's second customer. Previous versions of the Wasp are operated throughout the US military and by those of Australia, France and Sweden.
"We introduced the Wasp AE in May of 2012 with the expectation that multiple customers would find its capabilities very compelling," says Roy Minson, AeroVironment vice-president. "These contracts supporting the USMC 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."
AeroVironment is the most prolific builder of small UAVs in the world, supplying the RQ-11 Raven and RQ-20 Puma hand-launched systems.