To make this website work, we log user data. By using Shephard's online services, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.

Open menu Search

AeroVironment to “dramatically” increase production of Switchblades

9th May 2024 - 19:16 GMT | by Flavia Camargos Pereira in Tampa


Switchblade 300 Block 20 will be part of the USMC’s inventory. (Photo: Flavia Camargos Pereira)

The company plans to double or triple production rates for Switchblade 600 and 300 systems.

The growing international demand for loitering munitions and the award of several contracts have been leading AeroVironment toward increasing production manufacturing of Switchblade 600 and 300 systems.

Speaking to Shephard at the SOF Week 2024 exhibition in Tampa, Florida, AeroVironment’s manager of domestic business developments, Taylor Nobles, claimed that the company plans to 'dramatically' ramp up manufacturing rates.

'Huge numbers start coming in at us, and our senior leadership have prepared to either double or triple production,' Nobles stressed.

USSOCOM to deploy next-generation communications for sUAS in contested scenarios

Teledyne FLIR introduces Rogue 1 recoverable loitering munition system

Quantum Systems unveils new Reliant UAS

How the partnership with allies can improve the readiness for US SOF teams

On 7 May, the company was selected by the US DoD to supply the Switchblade 600 for Tranche 1 of the Replicator initiative.

In this first iteration of the programme, the DoD plans to field thousands of autonomous systems across multiple domains within the next 18-24 months.

'We were anticipating an increase in our production capacity even before the Replicator announcement came out just because we are seeing global trends going in a manner that our demand for our systems is increasing,' Nobles noted.

The Switchblade 600 is a man-portable, extended-range loitering munition system equipped with an anti-armour warhead for engaging larger, hardened targets at greater distances.

Currently in full-rate production, the solution also features advanced sensors and precision flight controls being capable of quick and easy deployment via tube launch.

It can fly, track and engage non-line-of-sight targets, and operators can abort the mission and re-engage if required.

The Switchblade 300, meanwhile, has been deployed in support of urgent operational needs to combat theatres since 2012. Its Block 20 version is the next generation of the system and capitalises on user assessments, combat deployments and lessons learned from the conflict in Ukraine.

Selected for the Replicator programme, the Switchblade 600 is on display at the SOF Week 2024 exhibition. (Photo: Flavia Camargos Pereira)

It provides armour-penetrating capability through an Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) warhead, increased target attack angle and greater battery life, flight endurance and radio link range.

On 18 April, the Switchblade 300 Block 20 was chosen by the US Marine Corps (USMC) for the first phase of the Organic Precision Fires-Light (OPF-L) programme, which had requirements for an individually operated, man-portable loitering munition with a lightweight, precision-guided capability against beyond- line-of-sight adversaries.

Under the OPF-L effort, AeroVironment was awarded a $8.9 million contract with a maximum potential value of $249 million.

To date, over 6,000 Switchblade loitering missiles have been tested, produced and fielded. The systems are in service with the US military, other partners and allied nations.

'We have ten years of combat service behind us. We have been around the world in conflict zones, literally for 10 to 12 years, with multiple thousands of soldiers trained, not just special forces but regular armies, air forces,' Nobles pointed out.

Flavia Camargos Pereira


Flavia Camargos Pereira

Flavia Camargos Pereira is a North America editor at Shephard Media. She joined the company …

Read full bio

Share to