Army fulfills loitering munition system order with contract

By Dan Schere / January 8, 2024 at 5:10 PM

With a $65 million contract awarded to AeroVironment last month, the Army has fulfilled an order for loitering munition systems to support a service requirement for lethal unmanned systems.

The Army awarded the contract for the Switchblade weapon system on Dec. 22, according to a Pentagon notice. The contract has an estimated completion date of April 30.

The contract fulfills funded orders for the Switchblade 600, Army spokesman Darrell Ames wrote in an email to Inside Defense on Jan. 8. It will support a directed requirement for lethal unmanned systems and foreign military sales, he wrote.

Switchblade 600 is an anti-armor munition that can loiter for more than 40 minutes, using high-resolution, electro-optical/infrared sensors and advanced precision flight controls.

Switchblade drones are among the weapons the United States has been sending in aid packages to Ukraine.

In July, the Army rolled out its new Low Altitude Stalking and Strike Ordnance (LASSO) initiative, which will give dismounted infantry man-portable, tube-launched uncrewed aircraft using an urgent capability acquisition pathway.

Ames noted that LASSO is considered an “emerging program of record” for the service and is a follow-on to the lethal unmanned systems directed requirement.

Army acquisition chief Doug Bush told multiple media outlets at last year’s Association of the United States Army conference that the service was acquiring more than 100 of the Switchblade 600.