The United States Department of Defence will supply ten AeroVironment RQ-20B Puma II tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the Egyptian military.
The US Federal Business Opportunities (FBO) website said the contract was awarded on 16 March this year by the US Army Contracting Command-Aberdeen Proving Ground. It covers ten Puma IIs, spares, logistics support, training for 20 students and 12 Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) kits.
The contract was initiated in September 2017, using Foreign Military Sales (FMS) funds for Egypt. The FBO said the estimated total contract value amounts to $10 387 470 and will be awarded on 17 April this year. The ten RQ-20As are worth $4 million and logistics support amounts to $3.7 million.
AeroVironment “is the only source capable of satisfying the FMS order,” the FBO said.
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly notes that the Egyptian Army does not currently operate any aviation assets, “though given the tactical nature of the Puma II AE it is likely that it will field the system rather than the air force.”
Egypt’s military operates a number of UAVs, including the Chinese ASN-209 and CH-4, as well as other types such as the jet-powered Northrop Grumman M324 Scarab. 56 of the latter were delivered in the 1980s and 1990s by Teledyne Ryan. In 2015 Egypt expressed interest in producing Sagem Patroller UAVs but it is not clear if anything came of this.
According to AeroVironment, the Puma II is equipped with an electro-optical and infrared camera and illuminator, but can also carry other payloads such as communications relay, geo-location or laser market. Flight is either manually controlled or the aircraft flies a GPS-based route. Endurance is more than 3.5 hours and range 20 km.
The Egyptian deal comes after AeroVironment in March announced a $44.5 million contract to supply Puma II AE UAVs to the ground forces of a Middle Eastern country. This was the company’s largest ever single contract.