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AeroVironment selected SOFIC as the venue to introduce PUMA LE (Long Endurance). David Sharpin, Vice President of Sales and Business Development for the AeroVironment Defense and Commercial sectors, noted his company wanted to harmonise the interoperable capabilities of the new PUMA LE with those already fielded. “Our goal was to take the endurance and range of PUMA to the next level, nearly doubling overall time on station, while continuing to deliver on PUMA’s class-leading user experience,” the corporate executive further explained.

Accordingly, the LE solution is based on interoperable components built to optimise the PUMA platform’s modularity. Common kit components include GCS, avionics, batteries and propulsion, with new components adding an extended wingspan, and new fuselage.

In one instance, the battery-operated LE’s endurance has been extended to 5.5 hours. The new model also offers an auxiliary payload bay, allowing the fitting of the MANTIS i45 gimbaled payload or another system. Mr Sharpin pointed out, “This is still an ‘all environment’ PUMA, permitting you to operate a shorter-range version, or the longer-range (LE) across land and maritime operations.”

Further, while PUMA LE can be hand-launched, payload configurations may encourage the operator to bungee-launch the airframe.

PUMA LE will be offered to its US DoD customers, and available to current non-US PUMA operators.

AeroVironment will have a full unveiling of PUMA LE at 2019 AUSA this October. An LE platform will be on display for delegates to view, at which time the company will release further product details. “We’re excited for what the future holds for PUMA, and can’t wait to unveil the next generation PUMA LE later this year,” David Sharpin added.

Marty Kauchak

The new model also offers an auxiliary payload bay, allowing the fitting of the MANTIS i45 gimbaled payload or another system. (Image: AeroVironment)

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