AeroVironment has launched standardised modular payload interface kits for RQ-20B Puma tactical uncrewed aircraft systems (UAS).

The kits have been introduced under orders from US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).

The USSOCOM has established the Modular Payload Standard to create a modular architectural standard for a broad range of payloads on uncrewed aircraft systems groups 1 to 3.

The payload interface kits enable third-party payload manufacturers, the US Department of Defense (DoD), and other international partners, to develop and integrate payloads onto RQ-20B Puma.

This interface kit is a ‘self-contained unit’ that provides all of the mechanical and electrical interfaces required to enable the RQ-20B Puma UAS to integrate with new payloads.

It also enables the quick integration of new payloads and reduces time and complexity for users to exchange them on the flight line.

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Furthermore, the interface kit cuts down government costs for new integrations.

The RQ-20B is a block 2 upgrade of the Pointer Upgraded Mission Ability-All Environment (Puma AE) UAS, designed and built by AeroVironment.

The UAS is designed for missions such as tactical intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting (ISRT), maritime patrol, search-and-rescue, and counter-illicit trafficking.

AeroVironment small UAS vice-president and product line general manager Trace Stevenson said: “AeroVironment’s standardised modular payload interface kits enable customer-driven payloads to be rapidly and effortlessly integrated into the thousands of digitally enabled Puma systems already deployed, resulting in a more capable solution that is adaptable to more mission sets at a fraction of the cost of a new system.”

In May, the company secured an initial firm-fixed-price order for modular payload standard kits from USSOCOM.

Delivery of these kits is planned for November this year.

Last month, AeroVironment secured two firm-fixed-price orders for the Puma 3 All Environment (AE) tactical UAS and Raven UAS spares packages from the USAF.