4.12.2019

Aerovironment develops a larger loitering munition

ANALYSIS: AeroVironment plays catch-up with new Switchblade types – link

AeroVironment Switchblade

Article Headlines

  • Aerovironment is developing a larger variant of the Switchblade as it sees “the ability to carry a larger explosive could make the Switchblade effective against armoured targets, such as tanks or personnel carriers. AeroVironment sees larger variants as driving revenue growth”
  • Though Switchblade is usually carried by an individual soldier and launched from a portable canister, AeroVironment is working on launching the loitering munition from an armoured vehicle and from a larger UAV
  • The company is working to install Switchblade on the wing of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions’ MQM-178 Firejet target drone. Piggybacking on the larger UAV would add some 200nm (370km) to the flying munition’s 5.4nm range. Kratos Defense said last month that it plans to test-launch Switchblade from the Firejet in early 2020
  • Additionally, the company believes it is close to receiving US State Department approval for a license to export its loitering munition

Overview & Comments

  • The key takeaway is Aerovironment’s efforts to export its loitering munition capabilities outside the US
  • It has been unable to sell its exploding drone outside the US due to a lack of an export license from the US government. That has allowed competitors, notably Israeli companies like Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries, Rafael Advanced Defense­Systems and UVision, to fill the void especially with larger systems in their portfolio with other mission capabilities
  • When (and not “if”) the company will receive the desired export approval (especially for their larger variant as described in the article) foreign companies will immediately feel the pressure
  • Aerovironment has an impressive market share of foreign customers operating the Wasp, Raven & Puma AE systems, thus adding the loitering munition to an already existing Aerovironment infrastructure, in addition to the advantage of FMS / FMF, will be very tempting for many of their already existing clients

Contact Us

And find how our services can benefit your company