AeroVironment
Simi Valley, CA
805-520-8350
www.avinc.com

AeroVironment, Inc. recently announced the launch of Puma LE (Long Endurance), the next generation in its Puma All Environment small UAS product line. Puma LE builds on the combat-proven Puma AE legacy with new capabilities, increased range, and expanded payload capacity. With the integrated Mantis i45 gimbaled EO/IR sensor and NVG-visible laser illuminator, Puma LE provides the warfighter with superior imagery for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) during day, night and low-light operations on land as well as in maritime environments.

Delivering Group 2 capabilities in a Group 1 footprint, the aircraft weighs only 22.5 pounds (10.4 kilograms), and is launchable by hand or bungee, which makes Puma LE easy to deploy and recover. Onboard batteries provide 5.5 hours of flight endurance, doubling the time on station of Puma 3 AE, with an operational range of 60 kilometers when used with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA). Puma LE’s economical dual-case mission pack contains everything needed to perform two complete 5.5-hour missions with a single aircraft and Ground Control System (GCS).

Puma LE is purpose-built for multi-mission operations with up to 5.5 pounds of total payload capacity. The aircraft’s ruggedized secondary payload bay enables the integration of third-party payloads with a dedicated power supply providing 18-24 volts at up to 5 amps, and an Ethernet connection port for payload communications. This capability provides the flexibility for operators to incorporate specialized payloads such as electronic warfare, RF emitter geolocation, laser designation, communications relay and others.

Puma LE can be operated either manually or autonomously with AeroVironment’s common GCS. The aircraft utilizes plug and play, interoperable line-replaceable unit (LRU) components that can be shared with other Puma AE aircraft. This native compatibility reduces training and logistical impact for operators. In addition, current Puma AE customers can now optimize their fielded systems by purchasing Puma LE as an add-on aircraft and easily installing Puma AE LRU components. Multiple Puma LE system options provide the flexibility for customers to choose the right configuration based on individual mission requirements.

The RQ-20A/B Puma™, Puma LE, RQ-11B Raven®, RQ-12A Wasp®, together with the VAPOR Helicopter UAS, comprise AeroVironment’s family of small unmanned aircraft systems. This family of systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that gives ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel. To date, AeroVironment has delivered thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than 45 allied governments around the world.

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Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine

This article first appeared in the April, 2020 issue of Aerospace & Defense Technology Magazine.

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