Puma sUAS Pounces

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Don Gull launches the RQ-20B Puma fixed wing unmanned aerial system during a ground-air coordination exercise at Twentynine Palms, California.

A just-announced contract for the U.S. Navy and Marines to expand use of AeroVironment’s Puma™ sUAS continues the company’s success with small unmanned tactical aircraft systems.

The $10.68 million fixed-price contract will purchase Puma™ 3 AE [All Environment] systems and spares for the Navy and the Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems Program. The agreement was signed in February; delivery is anticipated imminently.

“Puma 3 AE is a combat-proven enabler of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps tactical operations, providing persistent situational awareness, expeditionary reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition [RSTA], force protection and overwatch—anywhere and at any time,” said Rick Pedigo, AeroVironment’s vice president of business development. “Its versatility, ruggedness and reliability in a wide range of operating environments—over land and sea—consistently provide the actionable intelligence warfighters need to proceed with certainty.”

Hand-launched and fully man-portable, the Puma 3 AE has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) and can operate for up to 2.5 hours at a range of up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) with a standard antenna, and up to 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA). Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 EO/IR sensor suite, empowers the operator with extended flight time and a “level of imaging capability never before available in the small UAS class.”

AeroVironment reports that its family of tactical UAS comprises the majority of all unmanned aircraft in the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) inventory, and has been deployed by more than 45 allied governments. Another hand-launched AeroVironment system, the rucksack-portable RQ-11 Raven, specializes in low-altitude ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance), delivering real-time color and/or infrared imagery.

Check out the April-May print issue of Inside Unmanned Systems to learn about the debut of still another capable AeroVironment tactical sUAS

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Timothy J. Lutz, courtesy of AeroVironment.