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Egypt is to acquire and field the AeroVironment (AV) RQ-20B Puma II AE tactical unmanned aircraft system (UAS), the US Department of Defense (DoD) disclosed.
A Foreign Military Sales (FMS) deal for an undisclosed number of systems valued at $9.1 million has been awarded by the US Army, with the contract set to run through to 16 September 2020.
The Egyptian Army does not currently operate any aviation assets, though given the tactical nature of the Puma II AE it is likely that it will field the system rather than the air force, according to janes.com.
The Puma II AE is a man-portable, hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for land-based and maritime operations and is capable of landing in water or on land. Designed to be flown autonomously or via AV’s common ground control station (GCS), the Puma AE provides a persistent intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance (ISTAR); force-protection; and ‘over-the-hill’ reconnaissance capability.
Capable of both ground and water landings, Puma AE’s innovative fuselage provides an operational flexibility never before available in the small UAS class. On the ground, Puma AE is man-portable. Its powerful propulsion system and aerodynamic design make launch efficient and easy. But it’s in the air where Puma AE quietly and effectively gets to work.
Equipped with both an electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) camera and illuminator, Puma AE keeps the operator’s “eyes on target”. While the precision navigation system with secondary GPS ensures positional accuracy up to its 15 km range. An optional underwing transit bay easily integrates third-party payloads such as communication relay, geo-location, or laser marker to meet the diverse needs of military or civilian applications, according to the company website.
Aerovironment recently announced a sale of its Puma II AE UAS to an unnamed Middle East customer, but that was a much larger deal valued $44.5 million (the largest single award in the company’s history).