AeroVironment, Inc., a global leader in intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems announced the successful demonstration of integrating Switchblade® 300 loitering missiles and JUMP® 20 medium unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for increased mission autonomy and efficacy. This Air Launched Effects (ALE) proof-of-concept demonstration took place in August 2021 with the goal of launching an inert Switchblade 300 from the JUMP 20 and successfully recovering both air vehicles.
“This end-to-end integrated solution enables customers with greater time on station than if they were to deploy a Switchblade on its own, resulting in the ability to conduct persistent real-time surveillance to increase the chance of identifying the correct target and minimizing collateral damage,” said Brett Hush, AeroVironment vice president and product line general manager of tactical missile systems. “It combines the combat-proven Switchblade loitering missile’s lethality, reach and precision strike capabilities with low collateral effects and the VTOL, fixed-wing JUMP 20’s advanced multi-sensor ISR services and 14-hour endurance.”
The systems were integrated by fixing the inert Switchblade 300 tube-launch system to the existing JUMP 20 platform’s vertical lift boom with a custom-made bolt-on mount and firing solution. Switchblade 300 was remotely fired using the JUMP 20 ground control solution with in-flight control taken by a separate Switchblade ground element. Both vehicles were successfully recovered, proving the demonstration event to be the first-ever Switchblade 300 integration and air launch from a JUMP 20 Group 3 vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) platform.
Supporting conventional or special operations forces in the field or from fixed defensive positions, the combat-proven Switchblade 300 with patented wave-off feature is the ideal loitering missile for use against beyond-line-of-sight targets. Back-packable and rapidly deployable from air, sea or ground platforms, Switchblade 300 features increased lethality, reach and precision strike capabilities with low collateral effects. The JUMP 20 is a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), fixed-wing unmanned aircraft used to provide advanced multi-sensor intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) services. Delivering 14+ hours of endurance and an operational range of 185 km (115 mi), the JUMP 20 is ideal for multi-mission operations.