US-based unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) provider AeroVironment has secured a contract for the delivery of the Puma II AE small drone to the ground forces of a major country in the Middle East.
Under the $44.5m contract, the company will be responsible for providing the country with the small UAS equipped with the new Mantis i45 sensor.
AeroVironment UAS Business Segment vice-president and general manager Kirk Flittie said: “This contract for the ground forces of a Middle East regional power, and our largest international order to date, reflects AeroVironment’s continually growing international customer base and our ongoing commitment to equipping more allied forces with the innovative UAS solutions needed to ensure successful missions in a wide range of operations.”
The Mantis i45-integrated Puma AE UAS provides more actionable intelligence designed to enable users to carry out their mission with certainty.
Flittie added: “AeroVironment’s small UAS are transforming the way US and allied ground forces around the world plan, train, equip and operate, giving them the tools needed to proceed with certainty in the most challenging circumstances.”
The Mantis i45 is an electro-optical / infrared (EO/IR) gimbal sensor suite designed to provide improved imaging capabilities that in turn enhance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for military users.
While in operation, the sensor suite reduces the chances of detection by increasing the distance between the Puma AE aircraft and areas of interest, while ensuring clear image quality of a close-range asset.
This will enable the Mantis i45 to significantly improve its ability to successfully perform reconnaissance missions safely and effectively.
The rugged, portable and fully waterproof Puma AE aircraft is capable of both ground and water landings. Its upgraded precision navigation system with secondary global positioning system (GPS) provides optimal positional accuracy and reliability.
The aircraft is also equipped with AeroVironment’s common ground control system (GCS) that enables the operator to control the UAS either manually or programme it for GPS-based autonomous navigation.