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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023

AeroVironment Tests Military Maritime Drones

AeroVironment Inc. has conducted a maritime demonstration of the automated sensor-to-shooter function for its Puma and Switchblade drones from a U.S. Navy ship, the company announced Monday. The system uses the company’s existing drones with a new sensor to quick perceive and respond to threats on land or sea. AeroVironment is headquartered in Monrovia but designs and builds its drones in Simi Valley. In a typical maritime mission, a Puma surveillance drone with a high-resolution day/night camera identifies a target and passes its location to a Switchblade drone prior to its launch. After the Switchblade is airborne, Puma continuously transmits the target location information. When the target is in view of Switchblade’s optical sensors, the Switchblade mission commander confirms the target and the Switchblade operator shoots a missile. “This new combination of our Puma unmanned aircraft system with our Switchblade loitering missile system gives commanders unprecedented ability to identify threats at long ranges, limit collateral damage and wave off targets subsequently deemed neutral or friendly,” said Rick Pedigo, vice president of AeroVironment’s Tactical Missile Systems business. In the demonstration conducted from the Navy’s Coastal Riverine Craft, Puma identified fast-attack craft moving toward a host platform and transmitted their coordinates to Switchblade. Once launched, Switchblade automatically flew to the fast-moving target and the operator “defeated” the threat with a dud missile.

Joel Russel
Joel Russel
Joel Russell joined the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2006 as a reporter. He transferred to sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal in 2012 as managing editor. Since he assumed the position of editor in 2015, the Business Journal has been recognized four times as the best small-circulation tabloid business publication in the country by the Alliance of Area Business Publishers. Previously, he worked as senior editor at Hispanic Business magazine and editor of Business Mexico.

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