Warplanes: Puma Catching Up With Raven


April 26, 2011: The U.S. Army is trying to find micro-UAVs that are more effective than current models, and just as easy to use. Recent field tests for the larger Puma, a 5.9 kg (13 pound) UAV with a 2.6 meter (8.5 feet) wingspan and a range of 15 kilometers from the operator, resulted in SOCOM (Special Operations Command)  ordering over a hundred systems (each with three UAVs and two controllers). All of these will be delivered this year. Larger orders from the army are expected as well, along with more from SOCOM. 

Top speed for Puma is 87 kilometers an hour, and cruising speed is 37-50 kilometers an hour. Max altitude is 3,800 meters (12,500 feet), and the UAV can stay in the air for two hours at a time. Puma has a better vidcam (providing tilt, pan and zoom) than the smaller Raven, and that provides steadier and more detailed pictures. Because it is larger than Raven, and three times as heavy, Puma is much steadier in bad weather.

Puma has been around for a decade, but never got purchased in large quantities by anyone. The latest model uses much proven tech from the Raven (both UAVs are made by the same company). Like the Raven, Puma is hand launched, and can be quickly snapped together, or apart. A version, using a fuel cell has been tested, and was able to stay in the air for nine hours at a time. There is also a naval version, built to withstand all that exposure to salt water.

The army has bought thousands of the 2 kg (4.4 pound) Raven, but it is mostly used for convoy and base security, and less so by troops in the field. Each combat brigade currently has at least 17 Ravens, but the army wants to increase this to 49 small UAVs, including Puma, and perhaps another model as well.



Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close