The National Armed Forces of the Republic of Latvia is set to acquire RQ-20A Puma tactical hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) from US-based technology company AeroVironment.
The Latvian Armed Forces intends to use more than $3m of US financial support for the procurement of the Puma drones, which would help strengthen the country’s surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Under the scope of the US Government’s foreign military funding programme, the Latvian Army will receive three RQ-20A Puma UAS that are slated to be delivered next year.
In 2016, the National Armed Forces of Latvia developed a targeted surveillance and detection concept. The procurement is expected to help meet the requirements of a UAS concept that the country is implementing.
For more than 20 years, the US has been offering military aid to Latvia through different assistance programmes.
A wide range of equipment and devices such as communication systems, night vision devices and vehicles have been delivered to strengthen the Latvian Armed Forces.
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Following the US-Baltic summit on 3 April, the US Government decided to allocate approximately $100m to acquire large-calibre ammunition for the armed forces of the Baltic nations.
The US has so far invested in more than $70m on a range of training and military resource acquisition programmes for the Baltic armies.
With an 8.5ft wingspan and weight of 12.5lb, AreoVironment’s Puma UAS is a lightweight, single-engine, hand-launched drone that provides aerial observation at line-of-sight ranges up to 10km.
AreoVironment is claimed to be the biggest small UAS supplier of the US Army and several other allied forces.