The U.S. Department of Defense has ordered AeroVironment Inc’s new digital Puma “All Environment” unmanned aircraft system, a contract valued at more than $65 million.
The new Puma air vehicle systems—and initial spares—will be delivered to the U.S. military’s Special Operations Command over the next several months, AeroVironment says.
“Puma systems have demonstrated their effectiveness and are receiving high marks from customers for their image quality and overall capabilities,” said Tom Herring, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “Like Raven and Wasp, Puma is helping to expand the role of small unmanned aircraft systems, and in the process is protecting our forces and helping them do their jobs more effectively,” he said.
Each Puma system consists of three air vehicles and two ground control systems. The air vehicle carries an integrated electro-optical and an infrared gimbaled video payload, is designed for enhanced durability in land and maritime environments and can operate effectively in foul weather and over rugged terrain. The Puma weighs 13 pounds, is battery-powered and has a flight endurance of two hours, the company says.