AeroVironment Puma Small UAS Achieves Record Flight of Over Nine Hours Using Fuel Cell Battery Hybrid System

March 06, 2008

MONROVIA, Calif., March 6, 2008 -- AeroVironment (AV) (NASDAQ:AVAV), a leader in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) and efficient electric energy systems, today announced that it has flown its Puma small unmanned aircraft for over nine hours, powered by an onboard fuel cell battery hybrid energy storage system. This broke the previous announced Puma flight record of over seven hours. A two-camera payload system provided a live, streaming video feed from the Puma, the largest of AV's portfolio of small unmanned aircraft systems that also includes Raven and Wasp. The nine-hour flight duration more than triples the duration of Puma's standard battery-only operation.

This successful demonstration marked a milestone in AV's Phase II small business innovation research (SBIR) contract with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) for the development of advanced energy storage and propulsion technologies for unmanned aircraft. AV developed the battery pack, power electronics and controls portion of the hybrid energy storage system, which used Protonex Technology Corporation's (LSE: AIM: PTX) Pulse™ UAV fuel cell system. Progress on this unique technology development program advanced swiftly from kickoff in January 2007, to achieve a five-hour flight in May 2007, a seven-hour flight in July 2007, and the recent nine-hour flight.

"We are delighted with the performance of AV's fuel cell hybrid-powered Puma," said 1st Lt. Don Erickson of the Air Force Research Laboratory. "The joint AFRL, AV and Protonex team has done an outstanding job expanding the flight envelope of Puma through this research program. The successful extended duration capability demonstrated through this program has the potential to expand the utility of hand-launched UAS to address a variety of missions performed by operational units around the world."

"Our military customers rely upon our small UAS daily for real-time reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition," said John Grabowsky, AV executive vice president and general manager of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. "This demonstration of long-duration flight from a hand-launched UAS highlights AV's capabilities in developing and integrating efficient electric energy technologies. We believe that increasing endurance has the potential to extend the utility and concept of operations of our entire portfolio of unmanned aircraft into applications that require longer flight times."

Each of AV's production small UAS can be transported and set up with a minimal logistical footprint, launched and operated by one person, and is powered by a replaceable and rechargeable battery pack. Wasp, Raven and Puma wirelessly transmit live, streaming video and other information generated by their electro-optical or infrared sensor payloads, enabling their operators to view and capture images on a hand-held ground control unit. Their high degree of portability and flexibility enables these systems to provide tactical units with critical information when and where they need it, facilitating faster, safer movement through urban and rural environments. To date, AV has delivered more than 8,000 small unmanned aircraft.

About Puma

With a wingspan of 8.5 feet and weight of 12.5 pounds, Puma is a lightweight, hand-launched UAS that provides aerial observation at line-of-sight ranges up to 10 kilometers. Operating from the same ground control system used for Raven and Wasp, Puma incorporates avionics that enable autonomous flight and precise GPS navigation. Its adaptable design allows for custom payloads to be added in lieu of the air vehicle's standard configuration of color and IR cameras. Puma is easy to deploy, easy to use, and allows the operator to view both stationary and moving targets easily, providing real-time intelligence with persistent low-altitude reconnaissance.


About AeroVironment, Inc. (AV)

AeroVironment (NASDAQ: AVAV) provides customers with more actionable intelligence so they can proceed with certainty. Based in California, AeroVironment is a global leader in unmanned aircraft systems and tactical missile systems, and serves militaries, government agencies, businesses and consumers. For more information visit 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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AeroVironment, Inc.
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Mark Boyer
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