AeroVironment, of Monrovia, Calif., received a firm fixed-price order valued at $2.4 million from the U.S. Air Force for Puma AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) through an existing U.S. Army contract. Delivery is scheduled within two weeks.
"More military services are choosing the Puma system because its longer duration and more precise imagery deliver enhanced organic reconnaissance," said Tom Herring, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "The Air Force already employs our RQ-11B Raven and Wasp small unmanned aircraft systems. With the Puma small UAS they will have a more comprehensive set of capabilities for force protection and force multiplication, anywhere and at any time."
The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) selected the Puma UAS in 2008 for its AECV program after a full and open competition, the fourth U.S. Department of Defense competition for programs of record involving small UAS and the fourth such competition won by AeroVironment. In 2011 the United States Army assumed management of the AECV program. Each Puma system consists of three air vehicles and two ground control systems. The air vehicle carries an integrated electro-optical and infrared gimbaled video camera, is designed for enhanced survivability in land and maritime environments, and can operate effectively in foul weather and over rugged terrain. Its quiet operation, stabilized imagery and precision landing capability make Puma systems easy to operate and recover. The Puma air vehicle weighs 13 pounds, is battery powered and has a flight endurance of two hours.