AeroVironment SWITCHBLADE 600 gallery

The Switchblade 600 is a huge improvement over the previous Switchblade 300, as it improves loitering time on target, range, and warhead. Logically, these improvements mean a greater size and weight, although the system can continue to be used by a team of two operators or even just one if necessary. The system is ready to be used in less than 10 minutes from the order is given and as in the Switchblade 300, the operator can abort the mission at any time (wave-off capability) or reassign other targets if deemed necessary.
This drone can be launched from any type of land, naval and air platform or from defensive positions. The complete system weighs 54.4kg and includes the self-contained launcher with the loitering munition inside and the fire control system (FCS), which is made up of a long-range antenna and a tablet. The aerial platform (UAV) measures 1.30 meters long and weighs 22.7 kg, of which 15 kg belongs to the warhead. This warhead is a variant of the one installed on the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, capable of destroying heavy armor.
Switchblade 600 is designed to cover 40 km in about 20 minutes and then loitering in the assigned area for another 20 minutes. In this way, the drone can attack targets at a maximum distance of about 90 km, although to achieve this range it is necessary to have a second antenna deployed to act as a repeater for the orders sent by the operator who carried out the launch. The UAV is propelled by a small electric motor installed in the rear of the fuselage with which it reaches a cruising speed of 113 km/h, increasing to 185 km/h at the moment of impact.
The UAV is controlled autonomously or manually by the operator using the tablet. The guidance system is by GPS and has 4 advanced high-resolution sensors (dual EO and IR) installed in the nose. Data is transmitted through onboard encrypted data links AES-256 and Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module GPS. The system has an optional pocket digital data link (DDL) with handoff capability that allows it to attack targets beyond the line of sight without the need for external aid and includes an integrated training simulator.
The development of the Switchblade 600 began in 2018, with flight tests being carried out during 2019. Finally, in October 2020, the new system was publicly presented. In October 2022 AeroVironment declared that it could produce 2,000 systems per year, although the forecasts were to raise that figure to 6,000 units in the near future. In March 2021 the Switchblade 600 was chosen by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for use from medium (CCM) and heavy (CCH) combat boats against asymmetric (terrorist) threats. Its shipment to Ukraine in March 2022 was also considered, but the shipment was finally delayed until December, when 10 units were sent.

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