Royal Canadian Navy to Field Puma II AE Aboard Coastal Defence Vessels
MONROVIA, Calif. — AeroVironment Inc. and MDA, a Maxar Technologies company, announced Feb. 28 release that the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has acquired the AeroVironment Puma II AE maritime mini unmanned aircraft system (MMUAS) for fielding aboard RCN Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs).
The Puma II AE systems will include the Mantis i45 sensor and a 360-degree antenna system. MDA partnered with AeroVironment to satisfy the requirement of the Department of National Defence of Canada for the MMUAS.
“The addition of our Mantis i45 sensor and 360-degree antenna system expands the capability of Puma II AE to support maritime operations,” said Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of AeroVironment’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “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.
“AeroVironment’s small UAS have helped transform the way U.S. and allied forces plan, train, equip and operate. Fielding Puma II AE to the Canadian Navy allows interoperability with NATO forces and supports coalition mission integration,” said Flittie.
Canada previously acquired AeroVironment’s Raven UAS and its defense forces have employed Raven 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 concept, customers can add other AeroVironment UAS that will augment capabilities and utilize the same ground control station and software for added simplicity and efficiency.
AeroVironment developed the Puma AE system to win a 2008 U.S. Special Operations Command’s competitive program of record and subsequently supplied the system to the U.S. Navy Expeditionary Combat Command Coastal Riverine Forces, the U.S. Army for convoy and ground troop support and the U.S. Marine Corps. The Navy procured Puma AE systems for use aboard patrol craft and deployed them on a U.S. Navy expeditionary fast transport ship in support of counter-organized crime operations in the Caribbean. The Puma AE is also being deployed by multiple international partners.
The U.S. Department of Defense 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 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.