U.S. Army Places $20.4 Million Order for AeroVironment RQ-20A Puma AE Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems

  • Puma production milestone achieved with 1,000th air vehicle
  • United States Air Force assigns Mission Design Series designation RQ-20A to Puma AE system

MONROVIA, Calif.--()--AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) today announced it received a firm fixed-price order valued at $20,430,433 from the U.S. Army for RQ-20A Puma AE™ small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) on March 27, 2012. The Puma AE systems will provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities for security, route clearance operations and overall battle space awareness to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Delivery is scheduled within 30 days.

Separately, AeroVironment announced the production and delivery of its 1,000th Puma AE air vehicle, reflecting strong interest in and demand for the capabilities provided by the Puma AE system. In parallel, the United States Air Force approved the Mission Design Series designation RQ-20A for the Puma AE UAS. This designation establishes the Puma system alongside AeroVironment’s RQ-11B Raven® system as a designated military aircraft.

“The Puma AE system continues to provide critical force protection and force multiplication capabilities to our military at a fraction of the cost of larger manned and unmanned aircraft systems,” said Tom Herring, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. “Our small unmanned systems are ideal as they give small tactical units eyes in the sky surveillance and intelligence over a broad area.”

The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) selected the Puma UAS in 2008 for its AECV program after a full and open competition, the fourth U.S. Department of Defense competition for programs of record involving small UAS and the fourth such competition won by AeroVironment. In 2011 the United States Army assumed management of the AECV program. Each Puma system consists of three air vehicles and two ground control systems. The air vehicle carries an integrated electro-optical and infrared gimbaled video camera, is designed for enhanced survivability in land and maritime environments, and can operate effectively in foul weather and over rugged terrain. Its quiet operation, stabilized imagery and precision landing capability make Puma systems easy to operate and recover. The Puma air vehicle weighs 13 pounds, is battery powered and has a flight endurance of two hours.

About AeroVironment’s Small UAS

RQ-11B Raven®, Wasp™, RQ-20A Puma and Shrike VTOL™ comprise AeroVironment’s Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Operating with a common ground control system (GCS), this Family of Systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that can give ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel. AeroVironment’s UAS logistics operation supports systems deployed worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness. AeroVironment has delivered thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles. International purchasers of AeroVironment’s small UAS include the armed forces of Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, France, Norway, the Czech Republic, Thailand and Australia.

The Qube™ small UAS is tailored to law enforcement, first response and other public safety missions. Small enough to fit easily in the trunk of a car, the Qube system can be unpacked, assembled and ready for flight in less than five minutes, giving the operator a rapidly deployable eye in the sky at a fraction of the cost of manned aircraft and large unmanned aircraft.

About AeroVironment, Inc.

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops, produces, supports and operates an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions. Agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied military services use the company’s electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems extensively to provide situational awareness to tactical operating units through real-time, airborne reconnaissance, surveillance and communication. Multiple government agencies have helped to fund the development and demonstration of Global Observer®, a hybrid-electric, stratospheric UAS designed to provide affordable, persistent reconnaissance and communication over any location on the globe. Switchblade is a loitering munition designed to provide a rapid, lethal, pinpoint precision strike capability with minimal collateral damage. AeroVironment’s electric transportation solutions include a comprehensive suite of electric vehicle (EV) charging systems, installation and data services for consumers, automakers, utilities and government agencies, power cycling and test systems for EV developers and industrial electric vehicle charging systems for commercial fleets. More information about AeroVironment is available at www.avinc.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Contacts

AeroVironment, Inc.
Steven Gitlin
+1 (626) 357-9983
pr@avinc.com
or
For AeroVironment, Inc.
Mark Boyer
+1 (310) 229-5956
mark@boyersyndicate.com

Puma AE Launch (Photo by SSGT Bryan Dominique)

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Contacts

AeroVironment, Inc.
Steven Gitlin
+1 (626) 357-9983
pr@avinc.com
or
For AeroVironment, Inc.
Mark Boyer
+1 (310) 229-5956
mark@boyersyndicate.com