AeroVironment Wins $17.5 million Drone Contract

By Sgt. Bobby Yarbrough [Public domain]

Commercial and defense drone systems provider AeroVironment is flying into a contract with an unnamed nation for more than $17 million, according to a company announcement during the LAAD 2019 defense expo in Rio de Janeiro this week.

The company will provide its Puma AE II small unmanned aircraft systems, training and support.

“The combat-proven Puma AE delivers rapid and effective tactical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in a wide range of operating environments – over land and sea – providing the actionable intelligence to help customers proceed with certainty,” said David Sharpin, vice president, sales and business development for AeroVironment.

Capable of landing in water or on land, the Puma, with the Mantis i45 sensor suite, provides pilots with extended flight time and a high level of imaging capability.

In 2014, AeroVironment made domestic-drone history when the Puma became the first domestic model to garner FAA approval for commercial use. The agency gave AeroVironment permission to use a Puma drone to survey pipelines, roads and equipment at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska.

Puma can stay aloft for two hours and fly as high as 10,500 feet with a range of 12 nautical miles. Some models are equipped with optical and infrared cameras that can to capture still imagery and video.

“AeroVironment’s family of small drones comprise the majority of all unmanned aircraft in the U.S. DoD inventory, and its rapidly growing international customer base numbers more than 45 allied governments,” Sharpin added. “This contract award is another indication of the unique capabilities and value international customers recognize in our small UAS solutions.”

Last year, AeroVironment garnered a $5.9 million contract from the Portuguese army, encompassing the procurement of Raven unmanned aircraft systems equipped with Mantis i23 sensors and pocket Remote Video Terminals.

“AeroVironment’s Raven unmanned aircraft system, equipped with our Mantis i23 gimbaled sensor suite and pocket Remote Video Terminal, packs significant capabilities into a portable, man-packable platform for operations in austere environments around the globe,” said Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business.

“Our small UAS deliver valuable situational awareness directly to frontline warfighters at a fraction of the procurement and lifecycle cost of larger UAS. The Raven system will provide the Portuguese Army with rapid and effective force protection as well as interoperability capabilities with NATO forces, supporting coalition mission integration.”

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