AeroVironment Inc. will begin to deliver this month its Puma 3 unmanned aircraft for a contract for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.
The $10.7 million fixed-price contract is for those services’ small tactical unmanned aircraft systems program and covers new and spare Puma 3 aircraft.
AeroVironment designs, builds and tests its unmanned aircraft in Simi Valley.
The Puma 3 is a hand-launched aircraft designed for both land and maritime operations. With a wingspan of 9.2 feet and weighing 15 pounds, the aircraft can operate for up to 2.5 hours at a range of up to 12.4 miles with a standard antenna, and up to 37.2 miles with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna. It is capable of landing on land or in water and contains a sensor package allowing for excellent imaging capability.
Rick Pedigo, AeroVironment vice president of business development at AeroVironment, called the Puma a combat-proven enabler of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps tactical operations, providing persistent situational awareness, expeditionary reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition.
“Its versatility, ruggedness and reliability in a wide range of operating environments – over land and sea – consistently provide the actionable intelligence warfighters need to proceed with certainty,” Pedigo said in a statement.
The Puma is part of AeroVironment’s family of tactical unmanned aircraft systems, which also includes the Raven, Wasp and Vapor helicopter. These aircraft provide increased capability to the warfighter that gives ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel.
AeroVironment’s customers include all branches of the U.S. military and 45 allied countries.