February 9, 2007 AeroVironment's Aqua Puma small unmanned aircraft system (SUAS) has successfully completed sea trials for the Royal Australian Navy to explore adding a UAS capability to the Navy’s new Armidale class patrol boats. AV’s Aqua Puma is launched by hand, lands directly onto the sea surface and is recovered by hand from vessels. It is a next-generation FQM-151 Pointer, with the same form factor but increased endurance (1.5 hours) and enhanced sensor capability. Adding the Aqua Puma to the Armidales will require no ship modifications and will add significant day and night reconnaissance and surveillance capability.
PUMA is easy to deploy, easy to use, and allows the operator to easily track both stationary and moving targets, providing real-time intelligence with persistent low-altitude reconnaissance. With a wingspan of 8.5 feet, this lightweight, hand-launched small UAS provides aerial observation at line-of-sight ranges up to 10 kilometers.
PUMA’s avionics enable autonomous flight and precise GPS navigation.