PUMA II AE with MANTIS i45 Sensor and 360° antenna system
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has acquired the AeroVironment PUMA II AE, maritime mini unmanned aircraft system (UAS), for fielding aboard RCN Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV). The PUMA II AE systems will include the MANTIS i45 sensor and a 360-degree antenna system. MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, partnered with AeroVironment to satisfy the requirement of the Department of National Defence of Canada for the Maritime Miniature UAS (MMUAS).
“The addition of our MANTIS i45 sensor and 360-degree antenna system expands the capability of PUMA II AE to support maritime operations. This solution also builds on AeroVironment’s extensive operational experience with small UAS to provide the Royal Canadian Navy with a low-cost, hand-launched capability that is optimized for contested environments,” Kirk Flittie, Vice President and General Manager of AeroVironment’s UAS business segment, explained. “AeroVironment’s small UAS have helped transform the way US and allied forces plan, train, equip and operate. Fielding PUMA II AE to the RCN allows interoperability with NATO forces and supports coalition mission integration.”
Canada previously acquired AeroVironment’s RAVEN UAS and its defence forces have employed these systems extensively.
RCN’s adoption of the PUMA II AE marks another step in the growing need and fielding of MMUAS for the international surface combatant and coastal craft market. With the Family of Systems (FOS) concept, customers can add other AeroVironment UAS that will augment capabilities and utilise the same ground control station and software for added simplicity and efficiency.
AeroVironment developed the PUMA AE system to win a 2008 US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) competitive Program of Record (PoR) and subsequently supplied the system to the US Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Coastal Riverine Forces, the US Army for convoy and ground troop support and the US Marine Corps. The navy procured PUMA AE systems for use aboard Patrol Craft and also deployed them on a US Navy Expeditionary Fast Transport (T-EPF) ship in support of counter organized crime operations in the Caribbean. The PUMA AE is also being deployed by multiple international partners.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) established the designation RQ-20B for the block 2 PUMA AE small UAS. The block 2 PUMA AE system includes a more powerful and lighter propulsion system, lighter and stronger airframe, long-endurance battery, precision inertial navigation system and an improved user interface. The all- environment MANTIS i45 gimbal sensor suite for PUMA AE delivers a dramatic leap in small UAS image resolution and ISR capability. MANTIS i45 gimbal is backward compatible, fully waterproof and provides nighttime and low light capabilities ranging from Near-Infrared (NIR) to Long Wave Infrared (LWIR) imagery. During flight operations, the i45 gimbal provides full lower hemisphere coverage, continuous pan and is packaged to provide reliable operation in extreme environments.
Electro/Optical Resolution: Dual 15 megapixel colour with a Field of View (FOV) of 56– 1.2 degrees; 50x Zoom (lossless); Low Light Resolution: 1.2 megapixel with a FOV of 17–8.4 degrees; Thermal IR Resolution: 640×512 pixels at a FOV of 32 degrees and a Laser Illuminator Beam Power of 650 mW; Wavelength: 860 nm; Video Standard definition streaming, optional high definition on boardWeight 850 grams; Ball Diameter 4.2in; Operating Temperature -20C-50C.