AeroVironment Inc was awarded a $75.93 million contract by the U.S. Army Contracting Command to procure the Switchblade loitering munition.
According to the Pentagon contract announcement, the work will be performed in Simi Valley, California, with an estimated completion date of April 29, 2023.
Fiscal 2019 missile procurement (Army) funds; and 2020 procurement (Marine Corps) funds for the contract amount were obligated at the time of the award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) at Redstone Arsenal (RSA), Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-20-C-0024).
For conventional or special operations forces, in the field or from fixed defensive positions, AeroVironment Switchblade is the ideal loitering munition for use against beyond-line-of-site targets.
The loitering munition has a very small visual, thermal, and acoustic signatures with a 10+ km radius of operation 10+ minute endurance and speed ranging from 55 to 85 knots. It is equipped with an infrared (IR) camera and dual forward and side look electro-optical (EO) cameras.
Switchblade is equipped with a low collateral precision strike warhead. Ruggedly deployable and tube-launched, it fits inside ALICE pack weighing approximately 5.5 lbs (includes the payload, launcher, and transport bag).
The weapon system uses the Common Ground Control Station which is also used for AeroVironment’s Raven, Wasp AE and Puma AE tactical unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Remotely piloted or flown autonomously, Switchblade can provide real-time GPS coordinates and video for information gathering, targeting, or feature/object recognition. The vehicle’s small size and quiet electric motor make it difficult to detect, recognize, and track, even at very close range.
Back-packable and rapidly deployable from air, sea or ground platforms, the combat-proven Switchblade provides operators with increased lethality, reach and precision strike capabilities with low collateral effects.