US: Ukraine can get killer Switchblades ‘loitering unmanned missiles’

WASHINGTON — Ukraine may acquire American kamikaze drones “loitering missiles” Switchblades, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing a statement by two officials from the Joe Biden administration during an interview with NBC television. Ukraine continues to wage hostilities inside its territory after the Russian Federation invaded on February 24 this year. According to experts, Switchblades can successfully handle Russian armored personnel carriers, tanks, and armored fighting vehicles.

US: Ukraine can get killer Switchblades 'loitering unmanned missiles'
Photo credit: YouTube

However, no official decision has been made yet, sources told television cameras, but the White House is considering such a move. BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that the White House and Congress are about to approve a new package of military aid for Ukraine and Switchblades is likely to be included in the list.

Currently, Switchblades is developed in two versions – Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600. Both versions are in service only in the United States Army and United States Marine Corps. Interestingly, the US government has banned the manufacturer – AeroVironment to demonstrate the capabilities of the second option – Switchblade 600. According to the NBC, it is not clear if a decision is made to supply Switchblade, which of the two options will end up in Ukraine.

The NBC asked AeroVironment for comment, but it was rejected. “We stand with our allies and sovereign nations in their right to protect their homelands and their very lives when this fundamental right is threatened,” the company said in a statement on its website headlined ”AeroVironment stands with the people of Ukraine and all of NATO.”

US: Ukraine can get killer Switchblades 'loitering unmanned missiles'
Photo credit: FlightGlobal

Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600

In reality, the Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600 are unmanned aerial vehicles such as robotic intelligent bombs, ie. kamikaze. Like other drones, the Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600 are equipped with electro-optical surveillance, detection, and search systems.

According to the manufacturer, the second version of the Switchblade 600 can travel 80 km in 40 minutes. Both versions are programmable for auto-hitting targets and have the ability after takeoff the operator to change their trajectory and direct them to another target.

The advantage of this type of kamikaze drone is that they are relatively much cheaper than standard air-to-ground or air-to-air missiles. According to unofficial data, the Switchblade 300 costs just $ 6,000, while one Hellfire air-to-surface missile costs approximately $ 150,000.

Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles with increased control range
Photo credit: Defence Blog

Analysts compare the currently used Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones to the American Switchblade kamikaze drones, saying that the Switchblade “flies much faster than the Bayraktar TB2”. The Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600 are tuned and fired in minutes from the launch tube.

Ukraine and Switchblade

Many questions remain about the Biden administration’s proposal to supply Switchblade [one or both versions] to Ukraine’s armed forces. Most of them are related to the technological secrecy of the company, how much the White House is ready to risk sending such weapons to Ukraine, and how quickly AeroVironment would produce a certain amount.

Also, let’s not forget that such a rustle, strange as it may sound, but like any other needs a period of training. This is a factor that is essential right now.

But all experts believe that if Ukraine receives the Switchblade, it will become the most significant weapon used in the war in Ukraine. BulgarianMilitary.com spoke to its sources at the Pentagon and learned that despite the secrecy surrounding the Switchblade 600, this weapon was used for precision operations by US forces in Afghanistan. No further details were given.

US-Ukraine-can-get-killer-Switchblades-loitering-unmanned-missiles-3
Photo credit: AeroVironment

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