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The US Navy and Marine Corps will be equipped with Puma 3 AE small UAV systems and spares following a  $10,677,987 contract with AeroVironment. The aircraft are designed for their Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) Program. Delivery is anticipated by April 2020.

The Puma 3 AE is a fully man-portable unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations. The hand-launched UAV has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters), weighs 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) and can operate for up to 2.5 hours at a range of up to 12.4 miles (20 kilometers) with a standard antenna, and up to 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA). 

Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 EO/IR sensor suite, empowers the operator with extended flight time and a level of imaging capability never before available in the small UAS class, according to suasnews.com.

With both manual and autonomous navigation capability, Puma 3 AE’s newly enhanced propulsion system makes it significantly more efficient and easier to hand-launch. Deep-stall landing capability makes aircraft recovery simple and precise. 

The majority of unmanned aircraft in US Department of Defense (DoD) inventory belong to the AeroVironment family of tactical UAS.