AeroVironment Introduces Block Upgrade to Puma AE Unmanned Aircraft System, Including 75 Percent Increase in Flight Duration

Mon Oct 21, 2013 9:10am EDT

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AeroVironment Introduces Block Upgrade to Puma AE Unmanned Aircraft System, Including 75 Percent Increase in Flight Duration

  • Extended flight duration provides for longer missions
  • More powerful and efficient propulsion system
  • Increased mission flexibility

At the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting, Oct. 21, 2013 - AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) today introduced a series of enhancements to the battle-proven RQ-20A Puma AE small unmanned aircraft system that include new features and capabilities.

AeroVironment's Puma AE unmanned aircraft system (UAS) (Photo: Business Wire)

AeroVironment's Puma AE unmanned aircraft system (UAS) (Photo: Business Wire)

“Puma has proven itself a valuable tool to military and other government agencies, and with its recent type-certification by the Federal Aviation Administration, will soon help more domestic customers perform important jobs more safely and effectively,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of the company’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “Our enhanced Puma delivers more capability to expand its usefulness above and beyond what is expected from a Tier I UAS.”

Puma AE’s enhancements include the following:

  • Advanced propulsion system and smart battery technology – a more powerful propulsion system with a longer endurance smart battery delivers more than three and one-half hours of flight duration, a 75 percent improvement over the current Puma AE. For added mission flexibility, versatile smart battery options are available along with the ability to integrate advanced power sources in the future, such as solar and fuel cells
  • Auxiliary payload bay – provides the ability to integrate advanced payloads quickly and easily, while preserving Puma’s existing color and thermal video camera capability
  • Precision navigation system with secondary GPS – provides greater positional accuracy and reliability of the system
  • Added durability – a redesigned fuselage, including reinforced construction, delivers improved aerodynamic properties and increased durability while maintaining Puma's All Environment capability

The enhanced Puma AE will be available the first quarter of 2014.

The 13.5-pound Puma AE is fully waterproof, man-portable and can be assembled in minutes, hand-launched, operated and recovered on sea or land by a team of two people. It requires no infrastructure, such as runways, launch pads or recovery devices. In addition, the system is quiet and operates autonomously, providing persistent observation data.

About AeroVironment’s Family of Small UAS

RQ-11B Raven®, RQ-12 Wasp AE™, RQ-20A Puma™ and Shrike VTOL™ comprise AeroVironment’s Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Operating with a common ground control system (GCS), this Family of Systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that can give ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel. AeroVironment provides logistics services worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness and provides mission services for customers requiring only the information its small UAS produce. AeroVironment has delivered thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than twenty international governments.

The Qube™ small UAS is tailored to search and rescue, first response, law enforcement and other public safety missions. Small enough to fit easily in the trunk of a car, the Qube system can be unpacked, assembled and ready for flight in less than five minutes, giving the operator a rapidly deployable eye in the sky at a fraction of the cost of manned aircraft and large unmanned aircraft.

About AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops, produces, operates and supports an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. Agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied military services use the company’s electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems extensively to provide situational awareness to tactical operating units through real-time, airborne reconnaissance, surveillance and communication. Multiple government agencies have helped to fund the development and demonstration of Global Observer®, a hybrid-electric, stratospheric UAS designed to provide affordable, persistent reconnaissance and communication over any location on the globe. Switchblade™ is a tactical missile system designed to provide a rapid, lethal, pinpoint precision strike capability with minimal collateral damage. AeroVironment’s electric transportation solutions include a comprehensive suite of electric vehicle (EV) charging systems, installation and data services for consumers, automakers, utilities and government agencies, power cycling and test systems for EV developers and industrial electric vehicle charging systems for commercial fleets. More information about AeroVironment is available at www.avinc.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; our reliance on sales to the U.S. government; changes in the timing and/or amount of government spending; changes in the supply and/or demand and/or prices for our products and services; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on 10-Q. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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