The Switchblade is an unmanned aerial vehicle developed by AeroVironment. It is designed as a “kamikaze,” being able to crash into its target with an explosive warhead to destroy it. The Switchblade is small enough to be carried in a backpack and can be launched from a variety of ground and air platforms.
The Switchblade has a small warhead and is launched from a 60 cm long container/launcher tube. As it launches its small wings unfold and can be guided to its target via a nose-mounted camera. The operator looks through a viewer that displays video from the drone. Switchblade can also be directed to co-ordinates using Global Positioning System (GPS). Powered by an electric motor it can reach speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph) and loiter for up to 40 minutes. The Switchblade weights 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) and can be fired from a man-portable launch tube or a 70 mm rocket pod. It is operated by the same equipment used to control other AeroVironment UAVs. The explosive effect of the warhead is about equivalent to a hand grenade.
The Switchblade was first tested in 2010 by the United States Army. 10 were purchased for evaluation and were deployed successfully. In September 2011, the Army ordered over a hundred for troop use. The Army then issued a $5.1 million contract modification effective March 20, 2012 to their previous order to produce and deliver more systems.
In May 2012, the United States Marine Corps ordered the Switchblade UAV.
United States Army
United States Marine Corps
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