AeroVironment expands loitering missile system portfolio

2 October 2020 (Last Updated October 2nd, 2020 09:26)

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment has expanded its loitering missile system portfolio with the addition of the Switchblade 600.

AeroVironment expands loitering missile system portfolio
AeroVironment’s Family of Loitering Missile Systems – Switchblade 300, Switchblade 600, Blackwing Loitering Reconnaissance System. Credit AeroVironment.

Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) manufacturer AeroVironment has expanded its loitering missile system portfolio with the addition of the Switchblade 600.

Built on the battle-proven Switchblade 300, the new Switchblade 600 is an extended range loitering missile system that can engage non-line-of-sight targets.

The all-in-one 22.7kg solution can be set up in ten minutes and can be used for multi-domain operations.

Switchblade 600, like its other variant, features tube-launched, collapsible wing, electric propulsion architecture.

With a 115mph dash speed, Switchblade 600 is capable of hitting static and moving light armoured vehicles from several angles. The device is designed to cause localised impact minimising collateral damage.

It has a flight time of more than 40 minutes to deliver reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition data. The loitering missile system can transit up to 50 miles (80km) to a target area before conducting confirmatory orbits and then engage in target prosecution.

The launch of Switchblade 600 comes after the US Army awarded AeroVironment a $76m contract for the Switchblade 300 system and support as part of the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) programme.

AeroVironment president and CEO Wahid Nawabi said: “Since pioneering the loitering missile category with Switchblade 300 more than ten years ago, AeroVironment has worked with multiple new customers to develop scalable variants that could address new mission requirements.

“Now that Switchblade 300 has been adopted by the US Army for its LMAMS programme, our customers are eager to deploy Switchblade 600 because it can address larger, hardened targets in a more precise, rapid and cost-effective manner than legacy missile systems.

“We anticipate continued expansion of our family of loitering missile systems to help our customers proceed with certainty across a broader set of missions.”

In July, AeroVironment secured an initial contract option to modify the radio frequencies of the US Army’s existing fleet of Raven tactical unmanned aerial system (UAS).