U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle manufacturer AeroVironment was awarded a contract for RQ-20B Puma AE II small unmanned aircraft system (UAS).
The contract, announced on 21 September by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), is worth more than $10.1 million and provides design and manufacture of RQ-20B Puma AE II small UAS for Estonia.
According to the contract details released by DoD, the work will be performed in Monrovia, California, with an estimated completion date of March 23, 2021.
The RQ-20B Puma AE II is a man-portable small unmanned aircraft system designed for both land and maritime operations.
Equipped with both an electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) camera and illuminator, Puma UAS keeps the operator’s “eyes on target”. While the precision navigation system with secondary GPS insures positional accuracy up to its 20 km range. An optional under wing transit bay easily integrates third party payloads such as communication relay, geo-location, or laser marker to meet the diverse needs of military or civilian applications.
Operated from AeroVironment’s battle-proven ground control station (GCS)–the same that drives Raven and Wasp UAS platforms–the GCS allows the operator to control the aircraft manually or program it for GPS-based autonomous navigation. Puma can deliver 3.5+ hours of flight endurance while versatile smart battery options support diverse mission requirements. A provided plug and play power adapter also makes for easy integration of extended endurance options such as solar wings.
The RQ-20B Puma AE has been redesigned to make it more aerodynamic with rounded edges to reduce wind drag and and increase launch efficiency. Plus the fuselage is significantly stronger with a reinforced shell construction. The rugged nature of this small UAS enable it to endure landing after landing thereby reducing maintenance costs.