In the land of unmanned aircraft and drones, business is booming. Whether their purpose is for combat scenarios or surveillance, manufacturers and developers of this sophisticated technology are being used in a variety of ways -- spying on farms in Europe, mapping urban areas and relaying tactical communication to military organisations.
For the military especially, unmanned drones with aerial and/or weapons capabilities not only offer an opportunity to harvest valuable information necessary in formulating combat tactics, but can also keep their men out of risky scenarios -- and offer an advantage over the opposition.
Aerial craft developer AeroVironment has received an order for these kinds of machines from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets Materielverk) on behalf of the Swedish Army. The organisation has ordered 12 small hybrid unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
The fixed-price deal includes Puma AE and Wasp air vehicles -- and the necessary ground stations, training and logistics systems to support their operation. The contract is open-ended enough that the Swedish Army has the option of procuring up to 30 vehicles in time.
Roy Minson, senior vice president and general manager of AeroVironment's unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment said:
"AeroVironment's family of small unmanned aircraft systems gives our customers the flexibility to select the right UAS for specific mission assignments or to use two or three different small UAS for different purposes on the same mission.
Numerous allied armed forces are adopting our small UAS because of their battle-proven force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units."
The Puma AE and Wasp drones are used for surveillance, reconnaissance and military intelligence transmission, and are best suited to small tactical units due to their size. The ground systems linked to these machines can operate an entire fleet -- in doing so, reducing portability and logistics issues.
In addition to Sweden, other governmental departments have also purchased these drones across the world -- including Australia, Denmark, France, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Uganda and the United Kingdom.
Image credit: AeroVironment