AeroVironment’s Puma AE UAS Supporting Coast Guard Ice Breaker for Operation Deep Freeze Resupply Mission through Treacherous Antarctic Seas

February 02, 2016
  • Puma AE hand-launched unmanned aircraft system is scouting the ice shelf ahead of the Coast Guard’s Polar Star, supporting critical ice-breaking mission to resupply McMurdo Station in Antarctica
  • First time an unmanned aircraft system has been used to assist Coast Guard in navigating Ross Sea - avoids putting crew and costly helicopters at risk

SIMI VALLEY, Calif., Feb. 2, 2016 – In a development that takes the life-saving capabilities of small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to one of the most remote and unforgiving regions on earth, AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ: AVAV) today announced it and a team from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been contracted to provide the U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker Polar Star with a RQ-20A Puma™ AE unmanned aircraft system and a flight crew for the annual joint “Operation Deep Freeze,” the military component of the larger, civilian-managed U.S. Antarctic Program to re-supply the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station. The Operation Deep Freeze joint team departed Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on December 30, 2015 and reached McMurdo Station on January 18, 2016.

“Operation Deep Freeze is one of the U.S. military’s most complex peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment,” said Kirk Flittie, AeroVironment vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment.

“AeroVironment’s Puma AE is delivering vital advanced scouting intelligence to help the Coast Guard’s Polar Star conduct ice-breaking operations in the treacherous waters of the Ross Sea more safely and efficiently without putting pilots and costly helicopters at risk.” Flittie added that updates, video and photography during the mission will be posted on AeroVironment’s Facebook page as connectivity permits.

Puma is lightweight, easy to pack and deploy, and can operate off any ship without modifying the vessel. During Operation Deep Freeze, AeroVironment personnel are employing its new Autonomous Recovery System to capture Puma in a portable net on its return to the ship. Puma also can be recovered from the sea as a result of its waterproof design.

The Puma AE weighs 13.5 pounds, operates for more than 210 minutes, typically at a range of up to 15 kilometers, and delivers live, streaming color and infrared video as well as laser illumination from its pan-tilt-zoom Mantis i25 AE gimbaled payload. Launched by hand and capable of landing on the ground or in fresh or salt water, the Puma AE provides portability and flexibility for infantry, commercial, littoral or maritime operations.

AeroVironment’s small UAS, including Raven, Wasp, Puma and Shrike VTOL, are uniquely professional grade, proven with more than one million operating hours and used extensively for real-world operations in some of the harshest environments around the globe. They provide high-quality ISR, geospatial and multispectral information and 3-D engineering data for a multitude of missions in many fields, including precision agriculture, energy, transportation and utility.

“AeroVironment’s proven small UAS deliver critical information that allows people to make better decisions, even in the harshest conditions – enabling them to move forward with confidence,” Flittie said. “Moreover, Puma AE offers significant cost-saving advantages compared to available alternatives.”

Operation Deep Freeze is a U.S. military operation in support of the United States Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National Science Foundation.

AeroVironment received the contract from ADS, Inc. on behalf of the Coast Guard and is collaborating with NOAA to provide the requested services.

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About AeroVironment Small UAS

RQ-11B Raven®, RQ-12 Wasp®, RQ-20A Puma™ and Shrike VTOL™ comprise AeroVironment’s Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Operating with a common ground control system (GCS), this Family of Systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that can give ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel. AeroVironment provides logistics services worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness and provides mission services for customers requiring only the information its small UAS produce. AeroVironment has delivered thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than 30 international governments.

The Puma AE small UAS comprises one component of AeroVironment’s advanced, turnkey data collection, processing and delivery solution employed to provide commercial customers with engineering-quality information, on demand, across multiple industries such as energy, agriculture, transportation and utilities.

About ADS, Inc.

ADS, Inc. is a leading solutions provider proudly serving all branches of the U.S. military, federal, state and local government organizations, law enforcement agencies, first responders, partner nations and the defense industry. ADS is focused on solving customer’s challenges through the largest product and service selection, the broadest array of procurement and contract options, world-class support and logistics solutions and legendary customer service. To learn more, visit the ADS website at http://adsinc.com - Our Purpose. Your Mission.


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, tactical missile systems and electric vehicle charging and test 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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