AeroVironment, Inc. announced the launch of Puma LE (Long Endurance) unmanned aircraft system at the AUSA 2019 Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington D.C. on Oct. 14.
Puma LE builds on the combat-proven Puma All Environment (Puma AE) small UAS product line 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 and 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, making Puma LE easy to deploy and recover. On-board 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 is the next generation of the combat-proven Puma AE small UAS, delivering immediate tactical ISR, extended endurance and a dedicated secondary payload bay to dramatically expand its mission capabilities,” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of sales and business development for AeroVironment. “With Puma LE, AeroVironment expands the envelope of small unmanned aircraft systems, and enables our customers to proceed with certainty in ever-changing operational environments.”
Puma LE can be operated manually or autonomously with AeroVironment’s common GCS. Puma LE 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 mission requirements.
AeroVironment is now accepting orders for Puma LE, with expected delivery in spring 2020.