AeroVironment has been awarded a contract by the US Army close combat weapons systems (CCWS) programme to provide engineering services and operational systems for Switchblade agile munition.

The award is for rapid deployment of the capability with combat forces.

The prototype Switchblade system received safety confirmation and completed military utility assessment with the US Army in 2010.

The ground launched Switchblade air vehicle variant wirelessly transmits live colour video information of the target to the small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) ground control unit.

The operator then arms the air vehicle to engage the target, which delivers its onboard explosive payload with precision onto the target, causing minimal collateral damage.

AeroVironment Unmanned Aircraft Systems senior vice-president and general manager Tom Herring said that Switchblade provides a new strike capability to protect troops on the battlefield.