The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has become the launch customer for AeroVironment’s new Switchblade 600 loitering with a $25 million order.
The Switchblade 600 is an upscaled version of the Switchblade 300, first unveiled by the company in 2020.
Compared to the Switchblade 300, which offers precision strike capabilities at ranges of up to 10 kilometers, the larger Switchblade 600 offers ranges of over 40 kilometers.
The USSOCOM order includes delivery and integration of the tactical missile systems into specialized maritime platforms, scheduled to be completed by January 2023.
Switchblade 600 is also a potential candidate for the US Marine Corps’ Organic Precision Fires-Mounted capability, which the service envisions as set of subsystems comprising aerial reconnaissance, a surveillance and target acquisition platform, a vehicle-launched loitering aerial munition, and a digital command and control system.
“Our team worked closely with our customers to develop Switchblade 600, a loitering missile system that addresses the increasingly complex needs and mission requirements of counterinsurgency operations and those against peer and near-peer adversaries,” said Brett Hush, AeroVironment vice president and product line general manager for tactical missile systems.
“Integrating Switchblade 600 into combat platforms, such as the USSOCOM’s specialized maritime vessels, enhances force overmatch, minimizes warfighter exposure to enemy direct and indirect fires and accelerates the maturation of this innovative solution.”
While the company did not specify, the loitering missiles could be integrated onto the combatant craft assault boats. In April 2020, USSOCOM placed a $108 million contract with United States Marine Inc. for the construction of additional boats in the class. They are scheduled for delivery by 2025.
The 22.7 kg Switchblade 600 is equipped with a high-performance EO/IR gimbaled sensor suite, precision flight control and offers more than 40 minutes of flight time.