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AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma

United States (2008)
Picture of AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)
Picture of AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) Picture of AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)
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The AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is a small-class surveillance UAV utilized in large numbers by the US military.


Detailing the development and operational history of the AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS).  Entry last updated on 3/29/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

The AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma is one of the many intelligence-gathering unmanned aircraft system (UAS) currently in service with the United States military. The aircraft achieved first flight in 2007 and was adopted by United States Special Operations COMmand (better known as "SOCOM") in 2008 through the All-Environment Capable Variant (AECV) program. The Puma continues frontline operational level service as of 2013, being fielded in conjunction with various elements of the United States including special forces. Use of this UAS has since branched to include the United States Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. Production of the type is now represented in over 1,000 units produced by California-based AeroVironment. In US nomenclature, the Puma has been assigned the designation of "RQ-20A".

Unlike other highly publicized UAVs such as Predator and Reaper, the Puma is given a very small and compact profile for maximum portability. Its primary mission directive is that of surveillance and intelligence gathering for the purpose of a planned response while onboard systems can also be used to acquire targets. Its full mission scope is recognized as "ISRT" ("Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Targeting"). The payload is modular in nature and can therefore be suited to customer requirements. The Puma design is entirely waterproof which protects vital systems such as the battery compartment, allowing the Puma to operate equally-effectively over water. Standard equipment includes a stabilized electro-optical (EO) and an infrared (IR) camera with infrared illuminator while the payload is gimbaled to provide 360-degree continuous panning. Power is served through a conventional engine spinning a two-bladed propeller unit mounted to the front of the fuselage. Its noise level is rather quiet, allowing the Puma to remain unnoticed to targets on the ground. Wings include a high-mounted main assembly with noticeable outboard dihedral and a traditional single-fin tail unit. The Puma is small enough to be managed by a single operator in the field with a second operator managing the Ground Control Station (GCS). Also unlike other larger UAV systems, the Puma is hand-launched with recovery accomplished through simple deep-stall landing. Being waterproof, the Puma can also land in water and be recovered as needed. The entire Puma system includes three aircraft and GCS units and no additional equipment is required.


Picture of the AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)
Picture of the AeroVironment RQ-20 Puma Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)


The Puma features an overall length of 4 feet, 7 inches with a wingspan of 9 feet, 2 inches. Maximum take-off weight (MTOW) is listed at just 13 lbs. With its onboard propulsion system, the Puma can make 52 miles per hour out to a range of 9 miles. Flight time endurance is two hours. Despite these seemingly pedestrian specifications when compared to her larger brethren, the Puma is a budget-conscious alternative to the full-sized Predator and Reaper types. The Puma is also part of AeroVironment's established lineup of UAS vehicles that include the Raven and Wasp, both of these products being able to utilize the same provided GCS system.

Beyond the United States military, Denmark and Sweden added the RQ-20A system in June of 2012.

March 2018 - To satisfy growing market demand, AeroVironment has launched the new "Puma 3" Small Unmanned Air System (SUAS) line. Among its features is a revised airframe with modern Electro-Optical (EO) sensor package installed and a new protected datalink fit.






Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

Image of collection of graph types

Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 100mph
Lo: 50mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (52mph).

    Graph average of 75 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
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Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
1000
1000


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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National Flag Graphic
Origin: United States
Year: 2008
Type: Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS)
Manufacturer(s): AeroVironment - USA
Production: 1,000
Status: Active, In-Service
Global Operators:
Denmark; Sweden; United States
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
0


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
4.59 ft


Meters
1.4 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
9.19 ft


Meters
2.8 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
13 lb


Kilograms
6 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
13 lb


Kilograms
6 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
1 x Electric powerplant powering two-bladed propeller in puller mounting.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
52 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
83 kph


Knots
45 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
9 mi


Kilometers
15 km


Nautical Miles
8 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
499 ft


Meters
152 m


Miles
0.09 mi

Armament - Hardpoints (0):

None.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• RQ-20 Puma - Base Series Designation
• RQ-20A (AE - "All Environment") - US military designation for initial production models.
• RQ-20 "Puma 3" - Upgraded, improved Puma product; Mantis i45 Electro-Optical (EO) sensor; upgraded airframe and data link.