During a June Q4 2019 earnings call, AeroVironment President and CEO Wahid Nawabi said the company was developing a larger variant of the original Switchblade, the company’s widely-used loitering munition system.
Nawabi said the larger variant is customer co-funded, “has a longer flight duration, can cover greater distances, and carries a much larger warheads for the delivery of significant mission effects on targets,” according to a transcript of the call. “This variance will expand our addressable market significantly. We look forward to providing additional details on this exciting development, as we continue to make progress.”
When AeroVironment invited media for a product unveiling on the opening day of AUSA many expected the product to be this larger Switchblade variant.
Instead, AeroVironment unveiled Puma long endurance—Puma LE—a larger Group 2 variant of their signature unmanned aerial system Puma. AeroVironment said that Puma LE will provide Group 2 capabilities at a Group 1 footprint and price.
“Right now we’re very focused about this [Puma LE] solution because we believe our US Army customer, and many of our allies that are in this show, this is a remarkable capability for their needs and for there’s an operational needs that are have to exist today,” Nawabi said at AUSA. “And then obviously in the future we’ll keep you updated on the latest, greatest developments that we have.”