by Richard Tomkins
Monrovia, Calif. (UPI) Dec 9, 2014
The U.S. Army is continuing AeroVironment's support services for the Switchblade, a tactical system that is a combination of drone and missile.
The services come under a $4.4 million cost-plus-fixed fee award and a $7.1 million contract option from the Army Close Combat Weapons Systems office.
"Switchblade is a game changing capability that continues to protect American troops and give them major advantages on the battlefield," said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of its Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. "Switchblade enables our forces to work within the rules of engagement to neutralize lethal threats through its unique portability, precision, rapid deployment and collateral damage avoidance capabilities."
"Wherever our troops operate, they deserve to be equipped with the most effective, practical tools that protect and empower them. Switchblade has proven itself up to the task," he added.
The Switchblade drone/missile is two feet long and weighs 6 pounds – small enough and light enough to be carried by an individual soldier. It carries a warhead with the equivalent punch of a 40mm grenade.
The Switchblade is folded up into a launch tube and its wings unfold after launch. It's endurance is 10 minutes; range is about six miles.
The electric-powered system uses a camera and GPS to detect, track and engage a target by crashing into it or an operator can pre-program a target into it.
AeroVironment said the support awards cover training, refurbishments and project management support services.
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