Usage of AeroVironment’s explosive-tipped drone, the Switchblade, is growing as the US Marine Corps ordered its first of the missile-like weapon in April 2018.
The USMC order was part of a larger follow-on contract with the US Army which brings the total value of Switchblade awards to $111 million since August 2017, according to the company.
The awards for hardware and contractor logistics support were approved through Urgent Need Statements, said AeroVironment. The contract includes Switchblade systems, operator training, support and logistics.
The Switchblade drone first deployed with the US military more than five years ago. The drone has a range of up to 10km (6.2 miles), carries a grenade-sized munition and is designed to be flown into enemy personnel via remote control. Orbital ATK provides warheads for the Switchblade.
AeroVironment advertises the unmanned aerial vehicle as a camera-equipped, missile-like weapon that can be waved off and sent into a loitering flight path if civilians or friendly forces are spotted in its intended strike area.