The enhancement is part of a series of improvements to the company's unmanned aerial systems by the U.S. military and others.
"Puma has proven itself a valuable tool to military and other government agencies, and with its recent type-certification by the Federal Aviation Administration, will soon help more domestic customers perform important jobs more safely and effectively," said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of the company's Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. "Our enhanced Puma delivers more capability to expand its usefulness above and beyond what is expected from a Tier I UAS."
AeroVironment said the new propulsion system and the use of smart batteries have increased the Puma AE's flight endurance 75 percent to more than 3 1/2 hours. Future power sources for power integration include solar and fuel cells.
Other improvements to the 13.5-pound, hand-launched Puma include the addition of a secondary GPS for precision navigation, and a redesigned fuselage for better aerodynamics and durability.
The upgraded RQ-20A will be available to customers early next year, the company announced at the annual Association of the United States Army conference.
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