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US Marines Select Switchblade 300 Loitering Munition for Precision Fires Program

The US Marine Corps has contracted AeroVironment to deliver its Switchblade 300 Block 20 loitering munition for the first phase of the Organic Precision Fires-Light (OPF-L) program.

The $8.9 million initial contract has a potential value of $249 million.

Two other companies — Anduril and Teledyne FLIR — have also been selected for the program out of a pool of eight contenders. 

 “AV (AeroVironment) offers a battle-proven and production-ready system to support OPF-L to meet the Marine Corps’ requirements,” AV’s Senior Vice President Brett Hush said.

“Our mature and trusted manufacturing capability combined with world-class training and support will ensure Marine Infantry is adequately prepared for the fight.”

Switchblade 300 Block 20 

The Block 20 offers significant upgrades over the Switchblade 300, including armor penetration, target attack angle, battery life, flight endurance, and radio link range.

“With over 6,000 Switchblade loitering missiles tested, produced, and fielded, AV is in a unique position to offer revolutionary organic precision fire capabilities to the USMC, leveraging the proven reliability, producibility and supportability of current Switchblade programs,” continued Hush.

Organic Precision Fires-Light

The Organic Precision Fires-Light program seeks to equip the service with a loitering, beyond line-of-sight precision engagement capability with a greater range than direct fire weapons and minimum collateral damage and exposure to enemy fires.

The OPF-L will be deployed at the tactical level — rifle squads and platoons, referred to as the “organic” level of operations.

According to the Marines’ Force Design 2030 update from June 2023, there are two more OPF variants: mounted and infantry.

Mistral and UVision’s loitering munitions were selected for the OPF Mounted in 2022.

These munitions are intended to be integrated into the Light Armored Vehicle-Medium, Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, and Long-Range Uncrewed Surface Vessel.

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