AeroVironment Inc. has introduced the Switchblade 600, a larger version of its drone-like missile system.

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.