Monrovia, Calif.-based AeroVironment (NASDAQ:AVAV) has pocketed a near-$16 million contract.
On Wednesday, AeroVironment announced that the U.S. Army Close Combat Weapons Systems Program Executive Office Missiles and Space has placed five orders totaling $15.8 million in combined value for the company's Switchblade unmanned aerial vehicle.
Described as "the first smart loitering weapon," Switchblade is a tube-launched UAV that the company says "can deliver precision effects kilometers away with in-flight retargeting, target verification and pinpoint delivery, all resulting in little or no collateral effects." In layman's terms, Switchblade resembles a small guided missile, featuring a camera through which its remote operator can see and home in on its target, and a small warhead, built by Alliant Techsystems, with which to kill it.
AeroVironment did not disclose how many Switchblades the Army is buying, but in a February 2013 article, the Army's Rapid Equipping Force director was quoted saying, "we need dramatically more" Switchblade systems than had been supplied to the military as of late 2012.
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends AeroVironment. The Motley Fool owns shares of AeroVironment. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.