AUVSI: AeroVironment digital Puma nabs largest ever order

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AeroVironment said on Tuesday that it has received its largest-ever contract for the company's Puma throwable unmanned aerial system.

The contract, from US Special Operations Command is worth $65 million, and is part of a Puma surge strategy, said Tom Herring, senior vice president and general manager of UAS for AeroVironment.

The digital version of the Puma made its debut at last year's AUVSI conference, and since then 72 systems have been used to aid in route clearance. The new contract will deliver 180 systems over the next few months.

Digitizing the Puma allows AeroVironment to operate it from a ground control station common to its digitized Ravens, cutting down on user training.

 cyril berg celebrates puma
 ©2011 Billypix
Cyril Berg celebrates Puma's big deal

"The feedback we're getting on the field is remarkable," says Herring.

The latest $65 million is through an existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract from USSOCOM. The total award is now worth $75 million. The new award includes only systems and spares, not additional training according to Herring.

USSOCOM began using the analog Puma UAS in 2008.