AeroVironment, a manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles, is set to deliver its RQ-20A Puma AE unmanned aircraft system to the U.S. Marine Corps, making the Marines the first U.S. armed service to use four different UAS systems produced by AeroVironment.
The fixed-price deal—which is through a contract AeroVironment has with the U.S. Army—for the Puma is worth $5.5 million, the company says.
The Puma AE is battery operated, weighs 13 pounds, can stay aloft for two hours and carries an electro-optical and infrared gimbaled video camera. In addition to the Puma, the Marines also use AeroVironment’s RQ-14 Dragon Eye, the RQ-11B Raven and the Wasp, the company says.
“The Marine Corps was the first military service to formalize the adoption of small unmanned aircraft systems, and is now the first to adopt four of our systems, recognizing the life-saving value of this capability,” said Tom Herring, senior vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “When time is shortest and risk is highest, small UAS deliver critical information that helps troops do their jobs more safely and effectively," he said.