AeroVironment Inc. has introduced a new version of its Puma hand-launched drone for military customers.
The Puma Long Endurance (LE) drone built by the Simi Valley company comes with an increased range and expanded payload capabilities over the existing Puma All Environment (AE) aircraft.
The aircraft weighs 22.5 pounds and can be launched by hand or with a bungee. Its on-board batteries provide 5.5 hours of flight, doubling the time of the Puma AE. It can carry 5.5 pounds of payload, including in a secondary bay that can be used for specialized payloads such as electronic warfare, radio frequency emitter, laser designation, communications relay and others.
Rick Pedigo, vice president of sales and business development at AeroVironment, called the Puma LE the next generation for the small unmanned aircraft.
“With Puma LE, AeroVironment expands the envelope of small unmanned aircraft systems, and enables our customers to proceed with certainty in ever-changing operational environments,” Pedigo said in a statement.
AeroVironment will begin delivery of the Puma LE in the spring of next year.
Shares of AeroVironment (AVAV) closed up 78 cents, or 1 .4 percent, to $57.16 on the Nasdaq.