The Simi Valley unmanned aircraft manufacturer said that the Switchblade 600 offers expanded capabilities for targeting larger, hardened targets at greater distances. It is based on the same tube-launched, collapsible wing, electric propulsion architecture as the original Switchblade 300.
Both models of Switchblade are technically called missiles, not drones, because they are designed to fly into targets and detonate a warhead rather than returning to base for later use.
Weighing 50 pounds and with a set up time within 10 minutes, the Switchblade 600 has a flight time of more than 40 minutes. Should non-combatants be observed within proximity of the target, Switchblade’s patented “wave-off” feature and recommit capability allows operators to abort the mission at any time, and then re-engage either the same or other targets multiple times based on operator command, the company said.
Chief Executive Wahid Nawabi said the new missile system delivers a combination of precision, control and effects on target and addresses missions performed by legacy missiles that represented more than $1 billion in Pentagon spending in fiscal year 2020.
“The result of our continued innovation at the intersection of robotics, sensors, software analytics and connectivity, Switchblade 600 offers next-generation capabilities to our customers for operations against any adversary, in any threat environment,” Nawabi said in a statement.
Shares of AeroVironment (AVAV) closed up on Thursday $1.53, or almost 2.6 percent, to $61.54 on the Nasdaq, on a day when that market closed up 1.4 percent.