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US Marines select Switchblade 300 for Precision Fires-Light Program

The US Marine Corps has selected the latest version of the AeroVironment Switchblade 300 for the first phase of its Organic Precision Fires-Light (OPF-L) program. Washington DC-based AeroVironment’s (AV’s) Switchblade 300 Block 20 loitering munition system (LMS) will provide the Marines with an organic, anti-armour/anti-personnel, precision fires capability at the tactical level, the company says. AV was awarded an initial order of US$8.9 million on a contract with a maximum potential value of US$249 million ($386 million).

The First Person View (FPV) Switchblade 300 Block 20 supports the OPF-L program’s request for an individually operated, man-portable loitering munition for rapid target engagement with a lightweight, precision-guided capability against beyond- line-of-sight adversaries. It will also minimize collateral damage and exposure to threat weapon systems, says AeroVironment.

The tube-launched Switchblade 300 weighs just 5kg including its launcher and was acquired originally by the US Army under the Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System (LMAMS) program. It has been deployed in support of urgent operational needs to combat theatres since 2012, including Ukraine. The Block 20 is the next generation of the system capitalising on more than decade of user assessments, combat deployments, and lessons learned from the conflict in Ukraine, including operating in contested environment operations.

It significantly expands on the currently fielded Switchblade 300 capabilities, including armour penetrating capability through an Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) warhead, increased target attack angle, and significantly greater battery life, flight endurance, and radio link range, the company says.

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