AeroVironment Inc. has received a $76 million contract for one year’s worth of purchases by the U.S. Army of its miniature aerial missile system. The Simi Valley unmanned aircraft manufacturer expects to begin deliveries of the Switchblade tactical missile system in September. The contract is funded through a Joint Urgent Operational Need Statement from the U. S. Army Tactical Aviation and Ground Munitions project office. The Switchblade is a portable, rapidly deployable, precision strike loitering missile for beyond line-of-sight targets up to 6 miles from its launch location that minimizes collateral damage. It can be tube launched from air, land and sea platforms. Brett Hush, senior product line general manager for Tactical Missile Systems, said that for nearly a decade the Switchblade has delivered force protection and precision strike capabilities to the U.S. Army. “We will continue to enhance the capabilities of this battle-proven product and stand ready with a proven supply chain and customer support system in order to respond effectively to U.S. and allied customers’ needs,” Hush said in a statement. Shares of AeroVironment (AVAV) closed up 14 cents, or a fraction of a percent, to $60.13 on the Nasdaq, on a day when that market closed up nearly 1 percent.