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Another Switchblade Contract for AeroVironment; New Projects

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posted on May, 2 2020 @ 11:32 AM
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AeroVironment

For conventional or special operations forces, in the field or from fixed defensive positions, AeroVironment’s combat-proven Switchblade is the ideal loitering munition for use against beyond-line-of-site targets. Back-packable and rapidly deployable from air, sea or ground platforms, Switchblade provides operators with increased lethality, reach and precision strike capabilities with low collateral effects.

Remotely piloted or flown autonomously, Switchblade can provide real-time GPS coordinates and video for information gathering, targeting, or feature/object recognition. The vehicle’s small size and quiet electric motor make it difficult to detect, recognize, and track, even at very close range.



Need a quiet munition you can stuff in a backpack? You are a potential customer. That's need to launch from a submarine tube? Also, have a derived version for that...


FlightGlobal

AeroVironment has won a $76 million contract to supply an undisclosed quantity of Switchblade loitering munitions to the US Army and US Marine Corps...
AeroVironment also recently flight tested a larger Switchblade variant capable of carrying a bigger munition and travelling much farther, the firm said in March. The larger munition is co-funded by an undisclosed customer and could be an anti-armour variant of the Switchblade, though the company has released few details


Follow-on contract awarded.
Re: extended range version-- Wonder who could be interested in a portable anti-armor weapon with limited ISR capability...

Also currently being integrated with the Kratos Firejet UAV for demonstrations which we should hear more about soon. That would make for a very cheap, expendable UCAV option for a variety of applications.



posted on May, 2 2020 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

This looks to be a very good capability. My experience with RQ-11s has only been positive (besides accidentally auto-stalling into a pickup truck) and I think a more portable ISR tool would be a very good addition to the infantry, not just SF.

Regarding Anti-Armor, I think everyone would be interested in something that can find the armored formations before attacking a command tank. I've been clamoring for it for a while. God knows how much a country like Estonia or Lithuania would want that sort of capability.



posted on May, 2 2020 @ 12:11 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

You should be able to use the term same GCS as the Raven. Conceivably at the same time.

Pretty much everybody has clamored for the antiarmor capability. Original Switchblade was pushed by SOCOM, so I'd guess they are the driver for the upgrade. Currently, it's enough to make a mess of a tactical, but an antiarmor capability and more range is a good-sized step up. Not sure what that does to size/weight, but the goal obviously is to keep both down and retain the ability to fit in an ALICE pack.

There was talk of mounting tubes on various ground vehicles, too. AeroVironment is pushing a whole family of systems built around the Switchblade concept.


sidenote: Army's currently playing with Arcturus in their Shadow replacement program (FTUAS). Everything I've heard so far has been positive.



posted on May, 2 2020 @ 12:33 PM
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a reply to: RadioRobert

That is AWESOME. Of course for grunts like me it'll probably mean more wandering through the woods looking for both downed switchblades and ravens, but I can deal with that. I have experience in light infantry platoon size operations and let me tell you, the easier it is to recon the route of march, the easier and safer it is to move troops through the area quickly.

This democratization and proliferation of low cost ISR is really going to lead to the death of true light infantry as a concept which is sad to me but hopefully, if we're at the forefront of adopting it, we'll also be figuring out counters. We're already showing at NTC that dismounted light infantry tend to be schwacked as soon as they're located by a peer opponent.



posted on May, 2 2020 @ 02:02 PM
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a reply to: hawkguy

Yeah, being able to reliably loiter a munition and do some limited ISR all from a backpack is going to make a hell of a difference. Alternatively, being able to send something like a Raven out to be your eyeballs, and then prosecute with Switchblade using the same GCS system, also provides options. The more "organic" ISR makes it easier to make decisions on the ground. Being able to get the straight poop at a platoon level (or even squad/section level) means it isn't taking time being filtered through various command structures to get to you.

Can't take or hold ground with a UAV (or even helos and tac air), so light infantry won't entirely disappear. I think tactically, "true light infantry" is going to be relegated to simply denying initiative to the enemy. If you hold the hill, you're a nuisance that forces a response. You might need to vacate that hill, but the enemy just tied up time and resources chasing you out instead of doing whatever else it wanted to do, and you'll know exactly where that force will be.
Hell, guerilla forces are all essentially light infantry.
This has historically always been true, but the mental adjustment among professionals may need to be from "take/hold this position with light infantry" to a much more flexible "use light infantry to take/hold the initiative".


And if "light infantry" evolves to be something with organic, portable ISR and firepower, then ...



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 04:10 AM
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From 2012.



posted on May, 3 2020 @ 01:56 PM
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Lol







 
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