The Coast Guard has contracted with unmanned aircraft systems UAV maker AeroVironment to supply a UAV to support an Antarctic resupply convoy.
The RQ-20A Puma and operators will support Operation Deep Freeze, the military component of the annual resupply convoy to the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station.
"Operation Deep Freeze is one of the U.S. military's most complex peacetime missions due to the harsh Antarctic environment," said AeroVironment vice president Kirk Flittie. "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."
"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," the company said. "Puma also can be recovered from the sea as a result of its waterproof design."