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Aerovironment demonstrates Switchblade 300 ALE capability

4th November 2021 - 14:01 GMT | by The Shephard News Team in London

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A Switchblade 300 takes off after launch from a Jump 20 UAV (Photo: Aerovironment)

Aerovironment has announced a first ever demonstration of switchblade 300 loitering munitions from Jump 20 fixed wing UAVs.

Aerovironment has announced successful demonstration of Switchblade 300 loitering munitions, used as Air Launched Effects (ALE), from Jump 20 medium class UAVs.

The flight tests were undertaken as a proof of concept phase in August 2021, 'with the goal of launching an inert Switchblade 300 from the JUMP 20 and successfully recovering both air vehicles,' added the manufacturer in a 3 November statement. 

A tube launched system was fixed to the Jump 20's vertical lift boom in order to integrate the Switchblade 300 and remotely fired using a ground control station, with in-flight control managed by a Switchblade 'ground element,' according to Aerovironment.

'This end-to-end integrated solution enables customers with greater time on station than if they were to deploy a Switchblade on its own, resulting in the ability to conduct persistent real-time surveillance to increase the chance of identifying the correct target and minimizing collateral damage,” said Brett Hush, VP and product line general manager of tactical missile systems at Aerovironment. 

'It combines the combat-proven Switchblade loitering missile’s lethality, reach and precision strike capabilities with low collateral effects and the VTOL, fixed-wing JUMP 20’s advanced multi-sensor ISR services and 14-hour endurance.' 

The fixed-wing Jump 20 is involved in the US Army's Future Tactical UAS (FTUAS) line of effort, while the US DOD has ordered over 4000 Switchblade 300 systems, according to figures from Shephard's Defence Insight. 

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