AeroVironment, a player in unmanned aircraft systems, marks a breakthrough, as the VAPOR 55 MX achieves the first successful multi-drop, live-fire deployment of GPS-guided Shryke munitions.

The collaboration, which included Corvid and L3Harris Technologies, demonstrated the all-electric aircraft’s capability to carry and deploy four rounds simultaneously.

Shryke, a precision strike munition developed by Corvid Technologies and L3Harris Technologies, brings a multi-mission capability that adheres to stringent precision requirements, staying within 1-2 meters of the designated target. The 40mm anti-armour modular warhead and lightweight glider provide a low-collateral damage solution on the front lines.

Kyle Bowen, Corvid’s Shryke business development director, emphasised the suitability of Shryke for the VAPOR 55 MX, “Shryke’s size and weight make it the ideal choice for the weaponised VAPOR 55 MX. The lethality of a 40mm anti-armour modular warhead paired with a lightweight glider provides a highly effective, low-collateral damage solution to the front lines.”

Integrating Shryke munitions allows the unmanned aircraft system to designate multiple targets in a single flight, enhancing operational efficiency.

The collaboration also ensures safety-critical features, including L3Harris’ MIL-STD-1316 Electronic Safe and Arm Device (ESAD), guaranteeing initiation-on-command for energetic systems and secure post-flight recovery of remaining munitions.

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Jason Wright, AeroVironment’s senior product line manager, highlighted the advantages of the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) design, “Collaborating with our partners to develop the multi-drop Shryke payload to integrate seamlessly with the Modular Open Systems Approach (MOSA) design of the VAPOR 55 MX gives us a real market advantage. Quick integration for the warfighter continues to be our top priority.”

AeroVironment has secured contracts with the US Army for two unmanned systems. The first involves delivering the JUMP 20 medium uncrewed aircraft system (MUAS). Concurrently, AeroVironment was awarded a $20.6m contract to provide the US Army with Switchblade 300 tactical missile systems. 

Internationally, the US Department of Defense awarded AeroVironment $20.86m to deliver Puma 3 All Environment small uncrewed aircraft systems (SUAS) to two allied nations. Simultaneously, AeroVironment’s Switchblade loitering munition gained traction due to its success in Ukraine. The US Army awarded a $64.6m contract for Switchblade 300 loitering missile systems, expanding international sales to two allied nations.