In the beginning of September, US Army officials announced signing a nearly five million $ deal with AeroVironmental. According to its resolution, Army is to acquire a number of Switchblade miniUAVs. They will be sent to the frontline units in Afghanistan as soon as possible. Though, many believe that it won’t be happening this year.
Thanks to its small weight (nearly eight pounds), Switchblade can me transported and operated by only one soldier. It can be used both for observation and IRS (Intelligence, Reconnaissance, Surveillance) as well as attack BLOS (Beyond Line-of Sight) targets. When shot in the air from a small and handy tube, Switchblade can operate to three kilometers high, though because of the sensitivity of observation systems, it’s better to fly it on the ceiling of several hundred meters.
When the target is identified, Switchblade starts to point itself onto it. In order to do that it can use, either a highly quiet electric engine or disable it and simply glide. At the same time, UAV starts to arm its small warhead. Switchblade is a perfect city weapon. Because of its high precision of attack (one meter) and ability to discharge the warhead at almost any time, it’s harmless for civilians. It is very important especially when the target starts to quickly change its location.
Switchblade can become a very useful weapon for the US soldiers. Small size and weight makes it able to use on the level of platoons. It may also become a highly desired product on the international weapons markets, especially for those states which lack cheap, effective and modern infantry support arms.