AeroVironment Inc, Simi Valley, California, was awarded a $75,930,901 hybrid (cost-no-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, firm-fixed-price) contract to procure the Switchblade Weapon System.

Bids were solicited via the internet with one received.  Work will be performed in Simi Valley, California, with an estimated completion date of April 29, 2023.

Fiscal 2019 missile procurement (Army) funds; and 2020 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $75,930,901 were obligated at the time of the award.

U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity (W31P4Q-20-C-0024).

The US government is AeroVironment’s sole customer for Switchblade, as the company has struggled to gain approval to sell the weapon overseas.

However, AeroVironment hopes to secure its first export order for Switchblade in 2020 following recently received permission from the US government to sell the weapon to a small subset of NATO-country militaries, one of the firm’s executives told FlightGlobal in February 2020.

AeroVironment was one of the first companies to create a man-portable loitering munition. However, because it has been unable to compete internationally, rival loitering munitions manufacturers from Israel, for example, Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, have dominated the market outside the USA.

AeroVironment also recently flight tested a larger Switchblade variant capable of carrying a bigger munition and travelling much farther, the firm said in March. The larger munition is co-funded by an undisclosed customer and could be an anti-armour variant of the Switchblade, though the company has released few details.

The standard Switchblade is a critical part of AeroVironment’s sales. In fiscal year 2019, the company generated $314 million in revenue, 21% of which came from the loitering munition.

Sources: DoD; FlightGlobal

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