American defense contractor AeroVironment has clinched an $8.5 million contract from the US Department of Defense to supply the Puma unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to an undisclosed allied nation.
Puma is a third-generation tactical UAS that provides precise intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance utilizing an enhanced digital data link to transmit real-time imagery.
The drone has a wingspan of 9.2 feet (2.8 meters) and can fly up to 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) with the help of a long-range tracking antenna.
Puma can also reportedly operate in challenging environments and adverse weather conditions, with onboard batteries that provide 150 minutes of flight time.
Under the Foreign Military Sales agreement, the company will deliver spare parts and related training services to support future Puma operators.
AeroVironment vice president Trace Stevenson said about the system: “Combat-proven, versatile, and reliable Puma 3 AE provides persistent situational awareness, critical force protection, and force multiplication capabilities to small tactical units conducting operations in salt water, fresh water or on land.”
Delivery of the PUMA UAS and other related equipment and services is expected by November 2022.