Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) provider AeroVironment has secured a contract to provide more Switchblade 300 tactical missile systems to the US Army.

The contract is part of the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile Systems (LMAMS) programme.

AeroVironment was awarded the original LMAMS contract in 2011.

The company said that the latest $44.96m two-year contract option also includes the first approved foreign military sales (FMS) export of Switchblade 300 to an undisclosed allied nation.

It increases the total value of the contract to approximately $122.5m.

The US Army Contracting Command (ACC) – Redstone Arsenal and the US DoD FMS programme are managing the contract option.

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The company noted that the contract option ‘extends Switchblade’s unique capabilities to friendly forces’ and promotes interoperability for joint operations.

AeroVironment tactical missile systems product line vice-president and general manager Brett Hush said: “Switchblade is a versatile, combat-proven loitering missile that offers a unique combination of portability, precision, rapid deployment and collateral damage avoidance capabilities to our customers.

“The adoption of Switchblade systems across the US Armed Forces, and now by the first allied nation, reflects its compelling capabilities and its potential for joint interoperability.”

The combat-proven Switchblade is back-packable and can be rapidly deployed from ground platforms, such as a six-pack launcher.

It has been designed for use against beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) targets, from either mobile position in the field or from fixed defensive positions for base security.

It provides troops with ‘rapid-response force protection and precision strike capabilities’, extending up to 10km from its launch location.

Its high precision, specialised effects and patented wave-off feature increase the device’s ability to reduce collateral damage.