The U.S. Navy has awarded AeroVironment a potential $2.6 million contract to continue the production tube-launched unmanned aerial vehicles and associated equipment.
AeroVironment said Monday it will provide multiple Blackwing UAVs along with sensor payloads and refurbishment kits to the service branch.
The company aims to deliver the initial batch of vehicles by May 2018 and complete all deliveries by November next year.
Blackwing is based on AeroVironment’s Switchblade Lethal Miniature Aerial Missile System and equipped with a miniature electro-optical and infrared payload, a digital data link and a GPS autopilot system.
Kirk Flittie, vice president and general manager of the unmanned aircraft systems business at AeroVironment, said the platform is designed to also integrate with surface vessels and mobile ground vehicles to aid warfighters’ rapid response reconnaissance missions.
The company initially developed Blackwing in through the Advanced Weapons Enhanced by Submarine UAS Against Mobile Targets program sponsored by the Navy and the U.S. Pacific Command.