The Netherlands has awarded AeroVironment a contract worth $10.3 million to cover the upgrade of its existing RQ-11B Raven unmanned air vehicles, and to provide two new aircraft types.

Amsterdam has operated the Raven since 2008, and is upgrading the system from its current analogue configuration to include AeroVironment’s digital datalink.

Under the award, the Netherlands has also opted to buy the Puma AE and Wasp micro unmanned air systems, plus a new ground control station and support, which the company says will be delivered within six months.

In recent years the Royal Netherlands Army has expressed its interest in replacing the Raven with a family of advanced systems, which would offer different capabilities for user groups within the service, including increased endurance and integrated day/night payloads.

The service previously revealed that it was eyeing the Puma AE to add to its inventory, following observation of the Danish army operating its fleet of the type during joint operations, and had also expressed interest in a micro system.

Raven UAV - Royal Netherlands Army

Royal Netherlands Army

“The Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation [DMO] evaluated our extensive operational experience with the AeroVironment Raven system against competing systems available both domestically and internationally,” the DMO says.

“After careful deliberation and consideration of total value, DMO decided not only to upgrade our existing analogue Raven systems with AeroVironment’s digital data link, but also to procure the complete AeroVironment family of fixed-wing small UAS.”