This page uses content from Wikipedia and is licensed under CC BY-SA.

AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma

RQ-20 Puma
U S Marine Corps RQ-20 Puma 4-M-DE476-005.png
AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma
Role Remote controlled UAS
Manufacturer AeroVironment
First flight 2007
Introduction 2008[1]
Primary users United States Army
United States Marine Corps
United States Air Force
Number built 1,000+[citation needed]
Unit cost
$250,000+[citation needed]

The AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is a small, battery powered, American hand-launched unmanned aircraft system produced by AeroVironment based in California. Primary mission is surveillance and intelligence gathering using an electro-optical and infrared camera.

Design and development

Previously selected for the United States Special Operations Command in 2008, in March 2012 the United States Army ordered the Puma All Environment (AE) and designated it the RQ-20A.[2] In April, the United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force placed a similar order for the RQ-20A.[3][4] Each military RQ-20A system has three air vehicles and two ground stations.[2] The Puma AE can operate under extreme weather conditions including temperatures ranging from −20 to 120 °F (−29 to 49 °C), wind speeds up to 25 knots (29 mph; 46 km/h), and an inch of rain per hour.[5]

On 26 July 2013, the Puma became one of the first unmanned aerial vehicles to be granted certification by the Federal Aviation Administration to fly in U.S. airspace for commercial purposes. AeroVironment expects one to be deployed to Alaska to support oil spill response crews and count wildlife. The Puma can safely accomplish observation missions in hazardous Arctic locations, which is safer, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly than using manned aircraft. Commercial certification was the result of previous military certification and the Congressionally-mandated opening of airspace over much of Alaska to small UAVs.[6] The FAA also certified the Boeing Insitu ScanEagle, also planned to be deployed to Alaska. Only three individual Pumas were certified with strict requirements: only one aircraft of the type is allowed airborne at any one time, they cannot fly through clouds or icing conditions, and they cannot take off or land during certain gust and wind conditions. The certifications did not mention line-of-sight control.[7]

A U.S. soldier launches a RQ-20 by hand

On 8 June 2014, the Puma AE made its first flight for BP in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, making it the first authorized unmanned commercial flight over land.[8]

The UK tested ISR packages compatible with the Puma AE on board the M80 Stiletto trials ship in November 2014 under Capability Demonstration 15-1.[9]

On 20 January 2016, a number of RQ-20 were captured by the Turkish army from the PKK. It is suspected that the Kurdish militants were able acquire these drones from their Syrian affiliates.[10]

In August 2016, AeroVironment announced the U.S. Navy had tested and deployed the RQ-20B Puma aboard a Flight I Guided Missile Destroyer, which included the company's Precision Recovery System to autonomously recover the aircraft aboard a ship. The Puma is also being utilized on Navy patrol craft in the Persian Gulf.[1]

Variants

RQ-20A Puma
Military designation for the Puma All Environment variant.
RQ-20B
Block 2 Puma AE, includes a more powerful and lighter propulsion system, lighter and stronger airframe, long endurance battery, precision inertial navigation system an improved user interface, and the new, all environment Mantis i45 gimbal sensor suite.[1]
Solar Puma
Puma AE powered by ultra-thin solar cells that increases endurance to 9 hours.[11] Production version planned for early 2014.[12]
Enhanced Puma
Upgrade of the RQ-20A Puma AE with more powerful propulsion system and new batteries that increase endurance by 75 percent to 3.5 hours, auxiliary payload bay to integrate payloads while keeping the video camera, precision navigation system with secondary GPS, and a redesigned durable fuselage with reinforced construction and improved aerodynamics. Available in early 2014.[13]
LRTA Puma
Puma AE upgraded with a long-range tracking antenna (LRTA) that extends range to 60 kilometers (37.28 miles). Available Spring 2018.[14]
Puma LE (Long Endurance)
Puma with expanded battery-operated endurance, revealed in May 2019.[15]

Operators

Map with RQ-20 operators in blue
 Belgium
 Egypt
 Estonia
  • Estonian Army - Unknown number of RQ20B Puma AE II UAVs purchased in September 2018. Delivery to be expected by March 2019.[19]
 Latvia
 United States

Specifications

Data from [23] Puma AE data sheet

General characteristics

  • Length: 4 ft 7 in (1.4 m)
  • Wingspan: 9 ft 2 in (2.8 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 13 lb (5.9 kg)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 52 mph (83 km/h, 45 kn)
  • Minimum control speed: 23 mph (37 km/h, 20 kn)
  • Range: 9.3 mi (15 km, 8.1 nmi)
  • Endurance: 2 hours

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c US Navy deploying new RQ-20B AeroVironment Puma AE aboard Guided Missile Destroyer - Navyrecognition.com, 11 August 2016
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Army Places $20.4 Million Order for AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma AE Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems". Archived from the original on 2015-06-23. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
  3. ^ "U.S. Marine Corps First to Procure Four Different AeroVironment Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems with $5.5 Million RQ-20A Puma Order". Archived from the original on 2015-06-24. Retrieved 2012-05-03.
  4. ^ AeroVironment Scores Another Small UAS Success Archived 2013-05-22 at the Wayback Machine - Ainonline.com, 27 April 2012
  5. ^ Puma unmanned craft tested on USS Gonzalez Archived 2015-09-25 at the Wayback Machine - Upi.com, 23 September 2015
  6. ^ AeroVironment's Puma becomes first UAV to earn FAA commercial certification Archived 2018-03-21 at the Wayback Machine, FlightGlobal, 26 July 2013
  7. ^ FAA certifies two UAVs for commercial operations Archived 2013-08-04 at the Wayback Machine, FlightGlobal, 26 July 2013
  8. ^ Drone at Prudhoe Bay makes first FAA-authorized unmanned commercial flight over land - adn.com, 10 June 2014
  9. ^ Scott, Richard (26 October 2014). "Dstl plans unmanned ISR payload demonstration from Stiletto". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Archived from the original on 27 October 2014. Retrieved 29 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-25. Retrieved 2016-01-21.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Allen McDuffee, "Launch This New 9-Hour Solar-Powered Drone from Your Shoulder" Archived 2014-03-16 at the Wayback Machine, Wired, 13 August 2013
  12. ^ AeroVironment Solar-Powered Puma AE Small Unmanned Aircraft Achieves Continuous Flight for More Than Nine Hours Archived 2013-08-21 at the Wayback Machine - sUASNews.com, 16 August 2013
  13. ^ AeroVironment Introduces Block Upgrade to Puma AE Unmanned Aircraft System, Including 75 Percent Increase in Flight Duration Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine - sUASNews.com, 21 October 2013
  14. ^ AeroVironment's PUMA AE UAS receives new antenna Archived 2019-02-13 at the Wayback Machine - Armyrecognition.com, 15 September 2017
  15. ^ "SOFIC 2019: AeroVironment "soft laucnhes" Puma LE". Mönch Publishing Group. 23 May 2019. Archived from the original on 23 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-04-03. Retrieved 2019-07-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-18. Retrieved 2019-07-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-18. Retrieved 2019-07-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ "Estonia and Portugal procure AeroVironment small unmanned aircraft systems". The Defence Post. 15 September 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-09-15. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  20. ^ [eng.lsm.lv]
  21. ^ Puma numbers Archived 2013-02-21 at the Wayback Machine - Strategypage.com, February 19, 2013
  22. ^ [1] Archived 2013-06-25 at the Wayback Machine - NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries
  23. ^ "Puma AE data sheet" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2012-05-03.

External links