Military Embedded Systems

Puma AE Small UAV achieves nine continuous hours of flight on solar, battery technology


August 15, 2013

Brandon Lewis

Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

WASHINGTON. AeroVironment announced at the 2013 Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) conference that a Puma AE Small UAV (SUAV) powered a long endurance battery and by Alta Devices solar technology achieved nine continuous hours of flight during a recent outdoor flight test. The Puma AE’s 9 hour and 11 minute flight is longest endurance of any SUAV in its class.

The fully autonomous Puma AE is a 13-pound, hand-launched unmanned vehicle intended for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) applications. The Alta Devices advanced solar cells on the platform increase flight endurance by 350 percent, while the AeroVironment long endurance battery extends non-solar endurance by more than three hours. The solar-powered configuration is currently in the Research and Development (R&D) phase, with production versions scheduled for early 2014.

"Our integration of this cutting-edge technology dramatically increases Puma's current flight endurance using a clean, renewable power source," says Roy Minson, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), AeroVironment. "This development can give Puma AE customers significantly increased capabilities that approach those of the next class of UAS at a much lower acquisition and operating cost, and with much greater operational flexibility."

The FAA awarded AeroVironment with a “Restricted Category” rating for the Puma AE in July, enabling the UAS to perform commercial missions in Arctic regions. For more information, visit



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