AeroVironment, Inc. is unveiled today the Puma 3 AE, a new version of its proven RQ-20B Puma AE small tactical UAV that includes upgrades that prepare the air-vehicle for operation in rugged environments and improve its ability to carry advanced, third-party payloads and software applications. AeroVironment also improved the reliability of the system, particularly in operations in challenging electronic warfare environment and against cyber threats where interference is prevalent. The new drone is displayed at the current AUSA Global Force exhibition in Huntsville, AL this week.

AeroVironment upgraded the drone’s airframe to enable robust operation of its i45 EO/IR sensor suite with SIGINT payloads in harsh and demanding environments. In addition, the Puma 3 AE incorporates AeroVironment’s latest digital data link (DDL) with security upgrades to support operation in more challenging radio frequency (RF) environments, with M1/M2/M5 and M3/M4/M6 frequency bands and with AES-256 encryption. The company is releasing a new Puma smart battery that is more efficient and includes safety enhancements. The Puma AE delivers 3+ hours of flight endurance, with versatile smart battery options to support diverse mission requirements.

AeroVironment also has optimized the portability of Puma from six transport cases to four, with a flyable configuration in a single transport case that features luggage-type handles. A complete system includes three air vehicles and two ground control stations.

The company is also improving the Raven, its smaller drone with an upgrade to the RQ-11B Raven, called Raven 3. The upgraded Raven system will incorporate new camera technology into the i23 gimbaled sensor, similar to advancements made to Puma 3 and its i45 gimbal. These upgrades are still in progress and more information on Raven 3 will be available at the AUSA Symposium in October.