AeroVironment has secured a contract to deliver Puma 3 All Environment (AE) systems and associated spares for the US Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Programme.

Under the $10.7m contract, the systems delivered will be used for persistent situational awareness and protection of the forces.

The firm-fixed-price contract will deliver immediate reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA).

Delivery of the systems is expected to conclude by next month.

AeroVironment business development vice-president Rick Pedigo said: “Puma 3 AE is a combat-proven enabler of US Navy and Marine Corps tactical operations, providing persistent situational awareness, expeditionary reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, force protection and overwatch, anywhere and at any time.

“Its versatility, ruggedness and reliability in a wide range of operating environments, over land and sea, consistently provide the actionable intelligence warfighters need to proceed with certainty.”

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

Developed by AeroVironment, Puma 3 AE is a fully man-portable unmanned aircraft system designed for maritime and land-based operations.

The hand-launched system has a wingspan of 9.2ft and weighs 15 pounds.

It has the capacity to operate for up to 2.5 hours at a range of up to 12.4 miles with a standard antenna, and up to 37.2 miles with its Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA).

The UAS can land in water or on land. It has an inbuilt Mantis i45 EO/IR sensor suite, which extends the flight time and provides a level of imaging capability.