Published November 01, 2007
The Air Force's Wasp III small unmanned aircraft system provides real-time direct situational awareness and target information for Air Force Special Operations Command Battlefield Airmen. The Wasp-III falls into the class of Air Force small unmanned aircraft systems known as micro UAS.
The Wasp III UAS features the expendable air vehicle, a ground control unit and communications ground station. Wasp III is a collapsible lightweight air vehicle with a two-bladed propeller driven by a small electric motor. The Wasp III is equipped with an internal Global Positioning System and Inertial Navigation System, autopilot and two on-board cameras. The entire system can function autonomously from takeoff to recovery, or be controlled by one operator using a handheld remote control unit.
The Wasp III originated from a combat need for combat controllers and tactical air control party Airmen to carry equipment needed for beyond-line-of-sight surveillance and to engage enemy forces. Aerovironment Inc. was awarded the contract in December 2006 after competing against a number of candidate systems. The Air Force took delivery of its initial system in 2007. The system is also used by the US Marine Corps and US Army.
Primary function: Reconnaissance and surveillance with low-altitude operation
Contractor: Aerovironment, Inc. (Increment III)
Power plant: Electric motor, rechargeable lithium ion batteries
Wingspan: 28.5 inches (72.3 cm)
Length: 10 inches (25.4 cm)
Weight (air vehicle): 1 pound (453 grams)
Weight: (total system) 14.4 pounds (6.53 kilograms)
Speed: 20 - 40 mph
Operating altitude: From 150 to 500+ feet above ground level (to 152+ meters)
Altitude: 1,000 feet
System Cost: approximately $49,000 (2006 dollars)
Payload: High resolution, day/night camera