Army orders more missile drones

Aug. 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

MONROVIA, Calif., Aug. 29 (UPI) -- More Switchblade tactical missiles are being produced for the U.S. Army through contract options awarded to AeroVironment Inc.

The five contract options for the missile systems, ancillary equipment and support, are worth $15.8 million and were exercised under 2012 award from the Army's Close Combat Weapons Systems Program Executive Office Missiles and Space.

ATK, which produces advanced warheads for the missiles, will continue to work with AeroVironment on the orders.

"Switchblade is the first smart loitering weapon, giving our troops a new force protection capability that can deliver precision effects kilometers away with in-flight retargeting, target verification and pinpoint delivery, all resulting in little or no collateral effects," said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager of the company's Unmanned Aircraft Systems business segment. "AeroVironment and ATK stand ready to deliver more Switchblade systems to protect our troops."

Switchblade is essentially a guided-missile drone – weight is less than 10 pounds -- that can fit into a backpack for use against beyond-line-of-sight targets.

AeroVironment designs, develops, produces, operates and supports unmanned aircraft systems used by U.S. and allied military forces.

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