unveiling the latest products of its company in a virtual press conference, the president and CEO of AeroVironment Inc elaborated on its loitering missiles capabilities.
“The new capabilities that we will unveil today extend AeroVironment leadership position even further and address a much broader spectrum of threats that our war fighters deal with into these complex battlefields, not only in peer-to-peer conflicts,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment Inc’s president & CEO.
AeroVironment, a leader in the small UAS market, has expanded its offerings in the loitering munitions portfolio with the introduction of the Switchblade, which is unmatched and unique in the industry, said Wahid Nawabi.
The Switchblade has been very successful commercial, with its most recent commercial contract being the awarding of a contract by the US Army in May 2020 for the acquisition of an undisclosed number of Aerovironment loitering munitions for $75,930,901.
The loitering ammunition is now evolving into a family of products, said Nawabi.
He went on to add, It “will disrupt the multi-billion missile market as it allows to identify, assess and neutralize the threat on the battlefield, hitting it with utmost accuracy and low-to-no collateral damages, keeping the option of waving off until the very last seconds and re-engaging the same or a different target shortly afterwards.”
“We are going beyond that, as we are investing in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning algorithms, edge computing and other technologies in order to make our systems more capable and disruptive.”
These new technologies allows to significantly reduce the cognitive load on the operator, although a human will always be in the decision making loop.
“These investments, including latest generation video processing with massive computing power, will allow us to remain the smartest loitering missiles in the market,” says Todd Hanning, Product Line Manager, Tactical Missile Systems, of the new technologies that allow loitering missiles to fly in radio silence, and operate in areas where GPS is explicitly denied; they also have automatic target recognition capability.
AeroVironment “has a further large portfolio of investments and products in the pipeline for the future,” said Nawabi whille adding that a rotary wing system is part of AeroVironment roadmap. Furthermore, for new upcoming versions of Switchblade, the modular design allows AeroVironment to customize and adapt it to customers requirements.
The latest variant of the original Switchblade has now evolved to Switchblade 600, a combat proven product. Its naval ISR derivative, the Blackwing, is also in service with the US Navy, said Nawabi at the virtual press conference
“We are very excited about this last product as we are convinced it will open up a much bigger market for us; it is a multi-million dollar market in terms of new use cases and missions that we can address with this new missile, and there is nothing similar on the market today, so we consider it a game changer for our customers,” concluded Nawabi.
The virtual conference allowed participants a full overview on AeroVironment loitering missiles, and showcased their operational effectiveness thanks to their integration into newer platforms.