The Switchblade is a small "kamikaze” drone designed to be launched by a service member but which can also be tossed out of the back of an MV-22 Osprey for precision target acquisition. (Image courtesy AeroVironment

The Marine Corps is getting close to selecting a weapons system and sensors for its prized tiltrotor aircraft, the services’ deputy commandant of Aviation said Monday.

Speaking at the Sea Air Space expo near Washington, D.C., Lt. Gen. Jon Davis named some systems that might end up on the Osprey as Marine officials work to build out all their aviation platforms for combat, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Among options being considered: the Switchblade Tactical Missile System, a "kamikaze" unmanned aerial vehicle that has been tossed out of the back of the aircraft in testing for precision target acquisition.

"We are making every one of our platforms a sensor, a sharer and a shooter," Davis said. "We’re putting long-range communications and link compatibility on V-22s, we’ll put a sensor package on the V-22, and we will weaponize the V-22 as well. Why would you do that? You do that because you’re going to need those platforms as you fight your way from [the continental U.S.] to wherever you’ve got to go."

Other systems used in experiments with the Osprey include the Viper Strike glide bomb, a laser-guided system with GPS capabilities, and the Griffin A aft-eject missile, he said.


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