AeroVironment, Inc., manufacturer of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for both defense and commercial applications, and MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, announced the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has acquired the AeroVironmentPuma™ II AE, maritime mini unmanned aircraft system, for fielding aboard RCN Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV).
The Puma II AE systems will include the Mantis i45 sensor and a 360-degree antenna system. MDA partnered with AeroVironment to satisfy the requirement of the Department of National Defence of Canada for the Maritime Miniature Unmanned Aircraft System (MMUAS).
“The addition of our Mantis i45 sensor and 360-degree antenna system expands the capability of Puma II AE to support maritime operations. This solution also builds on AeroVironment’s extensive operational experience with small UAS to provide the Royal Canadian Navy with a low-cost, hand-launched capability that is optimized for contested environments,” said Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “AeroVironment’s small UAS have helped transform the way U.S. and allied forces plan, train, equip and operate. Fielding Puma II AE to the Canadian Navy allows interoperability with NATO forces and supports coalition mission integration,” said Flittie.
Canada previously acquired AeroVironment’s Raven® UAS and its defense forces have employed Raven systems extensively.
RCN’s adoption of the Puma II AE marks another step in the growing need and fielding of MMUAS for the international surface combatant and coastal craft market. With the Family of Systems (FOS) concept, customers can add other AeroVironment UAS that will augment capabilities and utilize the same ground control station and software for added simplicity and efficiency.
AeroVironment developed the Puma AE system to win a 2008 United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) competitive program of record and subsequently supplied the system to the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Coastal Riverine Forces, the US Army for convoy and ground troop support and the US Marine Corps. The Navy procured Puma AE systems for use aboard Patrol Craft and also deployed them on a U.S. Navy Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) ship in support of counter organized crime operations in the Caribbean. The Puma AE is also being deployed by multiple international partners.
The United States Department of Defense established the designation RQ-20B for the block 2 Puma AE small UAS. The block 2 Puma AE system includes a more powerful and lighter propulsion system, lighter and stronger airframe, long-endurance battery, precision inertial navigation system and an improved user interface. The all- environment Mantis i45 gimbal sensor suite for Puma AE delivers a dramatic leap in small UAS image resolution and ISR capability.
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