• A Switchblade 300 hits a moving maritime target. 

Credit: Defence
    A Switchblade 300 hits a moving maritime target. Credit: Defence

The Government has announced that it has ordered Switchblade 300 loitering munitions from US Company AeroVironment for the Australian Army. 

"It shows the Australian Government is getting on with the job of providing the ADF with state-of-the-art technologies it needs to meet the threats we face," said the Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy. 

Conroy didn't disclose the cost of the purchase nor how many munitions are being acquired through the deal though ADM understands it is being ran through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program which gives some indication of its value. 

Defence expects the first Switchblade 300 to be delivered to Australia later this year, with introduction into service scheduled for 2025. 

Typically the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) publishes a formal congressional notification approving a sale and detailing its contents as well as the estimated cost including FMS fees. However, in this case, a formal notification hasn't been issued by the DSCA. 

According to the DSCA, this happens when an approved FMS case is under a certain threshold, which for Australia is $US25 million. Given that Defence expects delivery of the capability quickly, it suggests that the FMS case has already been approved, which means that the value of Australia's Switchblade order is likely less than $37 million. 

“The delivery of this proven precision loitering munition demonstrates the speed at which we are introducing capabilities to the ADF," Minister Conroy added. 

According to AeroVironment, the Switchblade 300 is a lightweight, portable precision loitering munition system with superior payload, range, time to target and operator functionality.

The weapon has been employed operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Ukraine.



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