AeroVironment (Hall D, Stand D060) has announced that it has received a $3.2 million contract from the US government to provide the RQ-20B Puma AE II unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to an undisclosed nation within the Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) area of responsibility.
Delivery of the systems is expected to take place by 30 March 2019, to an allied nation within INDOPACOM that covers much of the Asia- Pacific region, and is being sold under the US government’s Foreign Military Sales scheme.
“The vast, diverse landscape of the INDOPACOM area of operation demands small unmanned aircraft systems that can support ground, riverine and maritime operations effectively,” said Kirk Flittie, vice-president and general manager of the company’s UAS business.
“The combat-proven Puma has demonstrated its unique effectiveness in a wide range of operating environments, from mountains to deserts, from the Arctic to Antarctica, on land and on the open ocean, delivering actionable intelligence to help customers proceed with certainty.”
While it has been revealed that Puma’s smaller sister UAV, the RQ-11 Raven, has been acquired by nations in the region including Australia, the Philippines and Thailand, operators in Asia-Pacific for the RQ-20B have not previously been disclosed.
Puma is a 6.3kg UAV with a 20km range, and is able to operate at altitudes of 500ft at speeds of 25-45 knots for some three hours with a long-endurance battery. It can land on water, and carries a Mantis i45 sensor suite that incorporates an electro-optical/infrared (IR) sensor and an IR illuminator. It is able to provide a 360° continuous pan capability.