Aerovironment (AVAV) Gets Phase II Contract Extension from DARPA

Aerovironment just announced that it has received a phase II contract extension from DARPA for its nano air vehicle development program. For the program, Aerovironment has developed an air vehicle with two flapping wings that carries its own energy, and successfully tested the vehicle in December of last year. The contract extension, which provides an additional $2.1 million and runs through 2010,  will enable further development of this concept.

In a company press release, project manager Matt Keenon commented on the contract extension:

“From the first day of the Phase I effort, we knew that our biggest challenge would be to develop a viable propulsion system, followed by the extreme challenge of creating a control system for such complex operation at such a small scale. Both systems were extremely difficult to conceive and required an intense combination of creative, scientific, and artistic problem-solving skills from several key team members. Our progress has been possible only because of the unique R&D environment at AV.”

Keennon said the Phase II effort will focus on optimizing the aircraft for longer flight endurance, establishing the transition capability from hover to forward flight and back, and reducing its size, weight, and acoustic signature. “All of these are distinct technical challenges in their own right that actually conflict with each other, making for an interesting and exciting path ahead,” he said.

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