Watch: Self-contained ground launch of Switchblade 300 in Ukraine
KYIV, ($1=29.42 Ukrainian Hryvnias) — For the first time, we have a video that recorded the self-contained ground launch of US-supplied Switchblade 300 loitering ammunition by the Ukrainian forces. BulgarianMilitary.com reports that the United States began shipping the Switchblade 300 loitering ammunition in mid-April, and in mid-May, it was confirmed that Washington had agreed to supply the more powerful version of the Switchblade 600.
It is not clear from the video whether the Ukrainian armed forces use the Switchblade 300 in actual combat operations against Russian troops and their weapons. A still shot of the 42nd second visualizes the date of April 24, which suggests that this may be a training session. Shortly before this shot, another still shot shows that it looks like they’ve set a target as the meter counter ticks down.
First recorded use
On May 6, the first evidence arrived that the Switchblade 300 was being used in Ukraine. Photos on social media show a completely destroyed drone. It is unclear whether the drone was shot down by Russian forces or fulfilled its mission. Examining the photos provided, experts suggest that the Switchblade 300 has most likely fulfilled its purpose, ie. he blew himself up, or hit, and blew up the target.
Examining the photos, they noticed that only the tail [rear part] of the drone was taken in the photos. According to the design of the Switchblade 300, the explosive part is in front of the drone, ie. the explosive head is missing, which means that the drone is working as intended, but whether it hit something remains questionable.
Another proof that the Switchblade 300 was used for its intended purpose is the lack of the outer shell, which means that it burned out in an explosion. The photos also show burnt parts. However, another camera with wood screws is attached, which is strange.
There are fears that the drone has not been completely destroyed, however, and the question remains whether the Russians could access some of the technologies developed and used in the Switchblade 300.
Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600
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.
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.
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.
2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine
On 21 February 2022, the Russian government claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility on the Russia Ukraine border, and claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.
On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR as independent states, according to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole, and Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.
On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country, as well as tanks entering via the Belarus border.
Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, in which Russia has its permanent representation, for military action to be defined as a “special military operation”, it must have a resolution issued by the UN. There is no such resolution, which automatically defines the military actions of the Russians as an invasion and war against the citizens of Ukraine.
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