MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — AeroVironment [AVAV] is readying to deliver 10 of its Puma unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to the Marine Corps, a company official said during the Modern Day Marine show this week.
The Marine Corps turned to AeroVironment in August as part of an urgent need requirement for route clearance, Craig Benson, the company’s business development director for Navy and Marine Corps systems, said.
AeroVironment is waiting for the Marine Corps to provide the company with a delivery time frame, Benson said.
Puma AE (All Environment), which has a wingspan of 9.2 feet, range of 15 kilometers and can stay aloft for more than two hours, can spot potential ambushes or search for possible improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by monitoring activities on the ground, Benson said.
Benson said the Marine Corps chose the hand-launched Puma because of its expeditionary nature, high endurance and payload. Puma has a Gimbaled payload that includes 360-degree continuous span, and a stabilized electro optical camera, infrared camera and illuminator in a single modular payload.
AeroVironment in the next few months will complete delivery of its Raven UAS to the Marine Corps. The contract was for about 450 aircraft with final delivery set to take place in the next few months, Benson said.
Raven has a wingspan of 4.5 feet and weight about 4.2 pounds. The hand-launched UAS provides aerial observation in night and day environments with at-line sight ranges up to 10 kilometers.
AeroVironment completed delivery last year of 135 Wasp UASs to the Marines.
Jointly developed with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Wasp Micro Air Vehicle (MAV) has a 72-centimeter wingspan and weight of about 430 grams.