Aerovironment to supply additional RQ-20 Puma UAS to U.S. Army

Aerovironment Inc, Simi Valley, California, was awarded an $8,371,332 firm-fixed-price contract for a Puma unmanned aircraft systems, initial spares, contractor logistics support, reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition, vampire and kestral software, launchers and new equipment training.
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U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dylan Ferguson, a brigade aviation element officer with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, launches an AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma UAS in Afghanistan (Picture source: U.S. Army)

Bids were solicited via the internet with one received. Work will be performed in Simi Valley, California, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2022. Fiscal 2020 Iraq country funds in the amount of $8,371,332 were obligated at the time of the award. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity

The AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is a small, battery powered, American, hand-launched unmanned aircraft system produced by AeroVironment based in California. Primary mission is surveillance and intelligence gathering using an electro-optical and infrared camera. Previously selected for the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in 2008, in March 2012 the U.S. Army ordered the Puma All Environment (AE) and designated it the RQ-20A. In April, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force placed a similar order for the RQ-20A. Each military RQ-20A system has three air vehicles and two ground stations. The Puma AE can operate under extreme weather conditions including temperatures ranging from −20 to 120 °F (−29 to 49 °C), wind speeds up to 25 knots (29 mph; 46 km/h), and an inch of rain per hour.

In August 2016, AeroVironment announced the U.S. Navy had tested and deployed the RQ-20B Puma aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer, which included the company's Precision Recovery System to autonomously recover the aircraft aboard a ship. The Puma is also being utilized on Navy patrol craft in the Persian Gulf.