AeroVironment announced it has secured a US$8.37 million firm-fixed-price US Department of Defense FMS contract for Puma 3 AE tactical UAS training and support to an allied nation. Delivery is anticipated by March 2021.
The AeroVironment Puma 3 AE is a fully man-portable unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations. The hand-launched Puma 3 AE has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) and operates for up to 2.5 hours at line-of-sight range of 20 kilometres with a standard antenna, and up to 60 kilometres with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna. Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 sensor suite, empowers the operator with extended flight time and a level of imaging capability never before available in the tactical UAS class.
To expand operational range, AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA) can be used with Puma 3 AE, and all other Digital Data Link (DDL) equipped UAS, increasing line-of-sight command and control up to 60 kilometres. The LRTA features a directional antenna mounted on a tracking positioner that allows for automatic or manual tracking of an aircraft at an extended stand-off range. In addition, an omnidirectional antenna provides redundancy and 360-degree coverage with reduced range capabilities. The LRTA is now offered in two versions – M1/2/5 and M3/4/6 – to support all DDL frequency bands and fit diverse mission needs.