By Andy Choi
AeroVironment declared that its Puma AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) have received an order from the U.S. Air Force, through an existing U.S. Army contract on April 5, 2012. This fixed-price order is worth $2,431,440 and scheduled to be delivered within two weeks.
Puma AE Launch (Photo: Business Wire)
According to AeroVironment Senior VP and general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Tom Herring, Puma system has been selected by several military services due to its extensive durability. Furthermore, more improved organic reconnaissance can be achieved through Puma’s precise imagery. AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven and Wasp small unmanned aircraft systems have already been deployed by the Air Force. Puma small UAS has the potential to ensure better and reliable force multiplication and force protection anywhere and at all times.
In 2008, the Puma UAS was chosen by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) for its AECV program following a full and open competition. Small UAS was involved in the fourth U.S. Department of Defense competition for programs of record. Management of the AECV program was assumed by the United States Army, in 2011. Each Puma system includes two ground control systems and three air vehicles. The air vehicle is equipped with an incorporated electro-optical and IR gimbaled video camera. It is ideal for applications in harsh environments such as foul weather and over rugged terrain. It has excellent survival capabilities both in land and maritime environments. Puma systems ensure simplified operation and easy recovery due to its precision landing capability, quiet operation, and stabilized imagery. Weighing only 13 lb, the Puma air vehicle has a flight endurance of two hours and is powered by battery.