Unmanned aerial system and tactical missiles specialist AeroVironment announced it has received a one-year, $75.9 million US Army contract for the delivery of Switchblade loitering missile systems to the service.
The contract award was funded for the first year of procurement through a “joint urgent operational need statement” from the US Army Tactical Aviation and Ground Munitions (TAGM) project office.
Switchblade is a weaponized small unmanned aerial system, back-packable and rapidly deployable from ground platforms including a 6-pack launcher. It provides warfighters with rapid-response force protection and precision strike capabilities up to 10 kilometers (6 miles) from its launch location. Aerovironment says the missile’s high precision, combined with specialized effects and patented wave-off feature, results in its ability to minimize or even eliminate collateral damage.
According to the company, the start of deliveries is anticipated by September 2020. Two additional one-year options, currently unfunded, would extend the period of performance through April 2023 on a sole-source basis.
“For nearly a decade, AeroVironment’s Switchblade has delivered unmatched force protection and precision strike capabilities at the battlefield edge to the US Army,” said Brett Hush, AeroVironment senior product line general manager of Tactical Missile Systems.
Northrop Grumman is a key partner on the Switchblade system, providing single purpose and multimode warheads for the program.