AeroVironment has lately flight tested a larger Switchblade variant capable of carrying a bigger munition and travelling significantly further.
Tests of the larger Switchblade started in AeroVironment’s 2020 fiscal year, which began 1 May 2019, the company says. AeroVironment says those tests were ‘successfully’ conducted, though it provides no further details.
“We hope that we could introduce this product to the market in the near future,” says chief executive Wahid Nawabi. “This larger variant flies further and longer, and carries a much bigger mission effects or mission impact. And so, what that does, it actually increases the addressable size of the market for Switchblade and tactical missile systems significantly.”
Introduced in 2011, Switchblade was one of the first loitering munitions to be adopted and used in combat operation by a military service. The US Army and US Marine Corps are both customers. The original Switchblade is about 0.6m (23.6in) long, has a range of about 5.4nm (10km) and weights 2.5kg (5.5lb), including the weight of a grenade-size munition on its nose..
Anti-armor loitering munitions have more range and precision and cost less than present-day anti-tank weapons.