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AeroVironment RQ-12A Wasp III

United States (2007)
Picture of AeroVironment RQ-12A Wasp III Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)

Introduced in 2007, the compact and portable AeroEnvironment Wasp III has served American special forces operatives well.


Detailing the development and operational history of the AeroVironment RQ-12A Wasp III Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS).  Entry last updated on 4/11/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Today's battlefield requirements push a massive - and growing - unmanned aircraft market. AeroVironment is a leader in design, development and production of Unmanned Air Systems (UASs) and their stable of competent aircraft added the "Wasp III" product in 2007. This miniature UAS was developed against a requirement by the United States Air Force special operations section. The project goal was to supply in-the-field operatives with a lightweight, portable, remote-controlled UAS unit for overhead scouting work and target designation. In this way the Wasp III has proved a success and its adoption has gone beyond the USAF - the governments of Australia (Army), France (Navy), Sweden (Air Force, Army, Navy), and Spain (Air Force) have all taken on the Wasp III into their various services.

The Wasp III system features a length of 1.25 feet and a wingspan of 2.4 feet. It weighs less than 1lb without its mission payload - which centers on stabilized cameras offering high-resolution, real-time video in both day and night operations. Full tilt, pan and zoom functionality is built into these units. The camera module is installed in the belly of the aircraft. Power for the aircraft is through a single electric motor powered by rechargeable batteries and this system drives a tw0-bladed propeller unit mounted to the nose. Maximum range is out to 5 kilometers with cruising speeds reaching 65 kmh.
Structurally, the Wasp III showcases a broad wingspan, slim nose section and single-finned tail unit. For transport, the Wasp III handily breaks down into major components and can fit in its travel bag. Set-up and take-down is relatively quick. Beyond its manual control scheme (operated through a basic hand-held controller), the aircraft can also be programmed and launched for autonomous service relying on GPS navigation.

The Wasp AE is an improved product form of the Wasp III series, introduced in mid-2012. Along with increased operational ranges and a built-in Infra-Red (IR) viewing capability, this mark brings about an amphibious capability that allows the unit to land on water surfaces for recovery. Because of this useful feature, various world navies have taken an interest in the variant.

The United Air Force and Marine Corps have both selected the Wasp III family for various over-battlefield roles. The U.S. military inventory designates the Wasp III as the "RQ-12A".






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 50mph
Lo: 25mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (40mph).

    Graph average of 37.5 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the AeroVironment RQ-12A Wasp III's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
550
550


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


  Compare this entry against other aircraft using our Comparison Tool  
National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 2007
Type: Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)
Manufacturer(s): AeroEnvironment, Incorporated - USA
Production: 550
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Australia; France; Spain; Sweden; United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the AeroVironment RQ-12A Wasp III model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
1.25 ft


Meters
0.38 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
2.36 ft


Meters
0.72 m

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Electric motor with rechargeable ion battery pack driving a two-bladed propeller unit at the nose.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
40 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
65 kph


Knots
35 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
3 mi


Kilometers
5 km


Nautical Miles
3 nm

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None. Mission payload consists of day/night high-resolution camera equipment.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• RQ-12A "Wasp III" - Base Series Designation