Army orders soldier-carried unmanned surveillance aircraft from AeroVironment in $11.2 million contract

July 26, 2022
The AeroVironment Puma 3 AE is a hand-launched and soldier-carried unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – U.S. Army unmanned aircraft experts needed soldier-carried unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for battlefield surveillance applications. They found their solution from AeroVironment Inc. in Simi Valley, Calif.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, Ala., announced an $11.2 million order to AeroVironment on Friday for RQ-20B Puma 3 AE unmanned aerial systems.

The AeroVironment Puma 3 AE is a soldier-carried unmanned aircraft system designed for land and maritime operations. The hand-launched Puma 3 AE has a wingspan of 9.2 feet, weighs 15 pounds, can operate for as long as 2.5 hours, and has a range of as far as 12.4 miles.

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The Puma 3 AE UAV has a standard antenna, and can extend its operation range to as far as 37.2 miles with AeroVironment’s Long-Range Tracking Antenna (LRTA).

Capable of landing in water or on land, the all-environment Puma, with its Mantis i45 EO/IR sensor suite, gives the operator extended flight time and a high level of imaging capability.

The third-generation all-environment Puma 3 AE delivers mission critical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), and features a reinforced airframe with an optional underwing transit bay for secondary payloads and third-party applications.

Related: Army eyes hand-launched squad drone the weight of a baseball for battlefield surveillance

Multi-mission capable, operators can swap between Mantis i45 and the enhanced night variant Mantis i45 N, for day, night, and low-light operations. The UAV is launchable by hand, bungee, rail, or vehicle, and recoverable by deep-stall landing.

AeroVironment’s family of tactical UAS use a common ground control station and software, allowing for improved interoperability and decreased training and logistics costs for NATO forces.

For more information contact AeroVironment online at, or the Army Contracting Command-Redstone at

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