AeroVironment, a Monrovia-based company with major operations in Simi Valley, had several small drones tested and destroyed by the U.S. Navy in a recent test.
AeroVironment made the announcement in a news release Aug. 11. On Aug. 3, the Navy used AeroVironment’s RQ-20B Puma in a test on the small destroyer USS Monsoon in the Arabian Gulf, which is near Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The small drone weighs 14 pounds, can fly at altitudes of up to 500 feet and has a range of 15 kilometers.
The Puma can be assembled, hand launched and operated in fewer than 10 minutes by a two-man team.
“The goal was to put Pumas on ships that don’t have a helicopter or airborne capability of some kind,” said Inez Kelly, a science adviser from the Office of Naval Research, said in a Navy news release. “The Pumas and other small UAVs give those platforms some eyes in the sky they never had before. They allow ships to have better situational awareness of where they are by providing an overlook capability.”
Founded in 1971, the company is best known for developing the first human powered airplane as well as several solar aircraft. In 2011, the company created a hummingbird-shaped drone equipped with a small video camera that can be used for indoor and outdoor surveillance for about 10 minutes.
• Contact Philip Joens at [email protected]