Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Marines Fire Switchblade Drone From Osprey in Test | Defense Tech

Marines Fire Switchblade Drone From Osprey in Test | Defense Tech: Marines fired a small airborne drone capable of carrying explosives from the back of an MV-22 Osprey in a test that could offer the tilt-rotor aircraft a new weapons potential.

Called the Switchblade, the drone was initially developed as a small intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. Marines at Twentynine Palms, Calif., attached one of the tube-launched drones atop an Osprey for a test attack-launch.

The system is small enough to be carried by a single soldier or Marine, according to the company, AeroVironment of Monrovia, California. Marines have been using the drone in Afghanistan since 2011. At Twentynine Palms Marines demonstrated the company’s claim that it could be launched from the air, as well.

The five pound drone did not carry a lethal payload for the test-run, but was successfully released and accurately steered toward its target, Col. James Adams, commander of Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1, told The Washington Post.