By Andy Choi
AeroVironment recently declared that it has been presented with a fixed-price order from the U.S. Army, on March 27, 2012. The contract is to deliver AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma AE small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), worth $20,430,433 to the U.S. army, within 30 days.
Puma AE Launch (Photo by SSGT Bryan Dominique)
With the Puma AE systems, the U.S. forces in Afghanistan can have reconnaissance, intelligence, and surveillance capabilities for its route clearance operations, overall battle space awareness and security.
AeroVironment, in another announcement declared the manufacture and delivery of its 1,000th Puma AE air vehicle, showing the efficiency and demand for Puma AE system. Subsequently, the Puma AE UAS had its Mission Design Series designation RQ-20A, validated by the U.S Air Force. With this designation, Puma system will remain lateral to AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven system as a validated military aircraft.
AeroVironment senior VP and general manager of UAS business segment, Tom Herring, the Puma AE system will further ensure force multiplication potential and critical force protection for military applications, cost-efficiency. The small unmanned systems are well-suitable as the small tactical units serve tactfully during sky surveillance and intelligence across a wider area.
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 application in harsh environments such as soiled weather and over rugged terrain.