Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Wasp
 
Copyright © 2007 Andreas Parsch

AeroVironment Wasp

The Wasp Micro-UAV (MAV) has been in development by AeroVironment Inc. under a DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) contract since about 1998, using experience gained during the preceding Black Widow MAV project. In August 2002, a Wasp established a record for MAVs when it flew for 1 hour 47 minutes. The developmental vehicles (a.k.a. Wasp Block I) were about 13 cm (5 in) long, had a span of 33 cm (13 in) and weighed 170 g (0.37 lb). The design has since been developed into the slightly larger and heavier Block II version for operational use.

Photos: AeroVironment Inc.
Wasp (early configuration)Wasp Block II


Wasp is a hand-launched, recoverable flying-wing UAV, which uses synthetic materials that act both as a battery and as main wing structure. It is waterproof, and is recovered automatically by a horizontal landing on land or water. The UAV can fly for up to an hour, and is equipped with a GPS-based navigation system for fully autonomous missions. However, it can also be manually flown via the same remote control equipment, which is also used by other AeroVironment mini-UAVs, e.g. the FQM-151 Pointer, RQ-11 Raven, Puma and RQ-14 Swift. The Wasp's payload consists of forward and side-looking miniature EO (Electro-Optical) video cameras. Its typical mission altitude is 15-300 m (50-1000 ft) above ground, where it is very hard to detect because of its small size and very low noise level.

In April 2006, the U.S. Air Force issued the BATMAV (Battlefield Air Targeting Micro Air Vehicle) requirement for real-time RSTA (Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Target Acquisition) and BDA (Battle Damage Assessment) by small units. In December that year, AeroVironment's Wasp was selected as winner of the BATMAV competition. The Wasp is also under field evaluation by the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and Army, but at the time of this writing no follow-up production contracts from those services have been announced.

The latest development of Wasp is the Block III version, which is also the version to be built as the USAF's BATMAV. It has been further optimized for cost-effective mass production, and includes night vision (IR) capability. Externally, it is significantly different from previous Wasp variants (with extra wing panels and modified fuselage), although this might apply only to the Block III for night operations.

Photo: AeroVironment Inc.
Wasp Block III


Specifications

Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for Wasp Block II and Block III:

 Wasp Block IIWasp Block III
Length15 cm (6 in)38 cm (15 in)
Wingspan41 cm (16.1 in)72 cm (28.5 in)
Weight275 g (0.61 lb)430 g (0.95 lb)
Speed40-60 km/h (25-37 mph)40-65 km/h (25-40 mph)
Range4 km (2.5 miles)5 km (3.1 miles)
Endurance40-60 min.45 min.
PropulsionElectric motor; 10 WElectric motor

Main Sources

[1] AeroVironment Small UAVs Website


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Last Updated: 19 February 2007