The US Navy (USN) has tested and deployed AeroVironment's RQ-20B PUMA small UAS aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer (DDG-class), which included exercises that used AeroVironment’s fully autonomous system to recover the aircraft aboard a ship.
Following completion of a PUMA AE ISR mission, the AeroVironment Precision Recovery System (PRS) provides for the autonomous on-board recovery of the aircraft, without interrupting the ship’s operations. Because the PUMA AE is also designed to land and float in water, operators can choose to recover it from the ocean, should mission requirements dictate. The AeroVironment PRS occupies a small footprint and can be managed and operated by members of a ship’s crew, as opposed to requiring external contractors. It is transported in tactical packaging that can be hand-carried aboard and readily transferred from one ship to another.
“Our PRS expands the capability of PUMA AE to support maritime operations,” Kirk Flittie, VP and GM of AeroVironment’s UAS business segment, explained. “This solution also builds on AeroVironment’s extensive operational experience with small UAS to provide the Navy with a low-cost, hand-launched capability optimized for contested environments. PUMA AE’s ability to operate from a wide variety of surface vessels ensures rapid response reconnaissance capabilities that help our customers operate more safely and effectively and proceed with certainty.”