Russian tanks and artillery overcome the US threat Switchblade 300
The Switchblade 300 is a great weapon. The kamikaze drone that Ukraine received in the middle of last year had to meet its expectations for it. Both the manufacturer and the country that uses it in the war. There are videos on the web showing how the Switchblade 300 strikes Russian positions, including fortifications, military units, military shelters, etc.
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But Switchblade 300 is not suitable for the war in Ukraine. The targets of the Ukrainian armed forces are Russian tanks, artillery, and anti-aircraft missile systems. Against them, the Switchblade 300 is no match.
This is written by David Hambling at 19fortyfive.com, as part of his commentary on Washington’s strange decision. And the solution is this: the Pentagon will not buy more Switchblade 300, it becomes clear reading the military budget planned for the year 2024.
Of course, one of the reasons why the Pentagon has refused further purchases of the Switchblade 300 could be several. Of course, one reason may be the poor performance of this loitering munition against Russian artillery platforms on the battlefield.
Another reason could be the price. David Hambling writes that by military standards, a price tag of $80,000 is not high. Actually, that’s what happened. If you compare this price with the cost of anti-tank portable missile systems or artillery ammunition, the Switchblade 300 is not expensive at all. And this value includes the guidance system, the warhead, the computerized integrated systems, the hull, the sensors – well, everything.
However, price relative to market competition may play a role. For example, from the beginning of the war to this day, we have witnessed civilian drones costing 500-700 USD each. Moderated by the Ukrainians and Russians carrying hand grenades and grenades, a successful munitions drop would ensure defeat.
Donations of tens of thousands of drones
There are hundreds of videos on the web, how a civilian quadcopter, bought from somewhere, with a grenade mounted, flies over the open hatch of the turret of a tank or Russian armored personnel carrier, drops a grenade, which falls into the tank crew compartment and an explosion follows.
At the beginning of March this year, we reported that the Ukrainian Armed Forces received a donation of 300 DJI Mavic 3T drones. A quick look at the manufacturer’s site shows us that the DJI Mavic 3T Worry-Free Basic Combo drone costs $5,700. I.e. with the money for one Switchblade 300 drone, the Ukrainians will buy 14 DJI drones, which will apparently be more efficient than the Switchblade 300.
Also Ukraine I get other video drones. Kyiv also uses other models of drones, such as FPV [First person View] kamikaze drones. Russia also uses them by the way. Their value is even cheaper than that of the DJI Mavic 3T Worry-Free Basic Combo. According to sources, Ukraine has received tens of thousands of FPV drones. I.e. not only does Ukraine have cheaper and more effective deadly kamikazes, but the Switchblade 300 doesn’t seem to be as successful against Russian tanks or artillery.
Switchblade 300 at war
BulgarianMilitary.com has paid tribute to the Switchblade 300 in the war several times. At the beginning of the war, when military supplies of heavy combat armored vehicles to Ukraine were still being discussed, this drone was a real hit on the battlefield.
We have evidence of dozens of destroyed Russian positions on our site alone. The web is full of even more videos and photos. But as well as it performed, the Switchblade 300 also suffered from negatives. For example, we have evidence of failed Switchblade 300 attacks. This is never good news, because a captured drone gives the Russians a chance to investigate it.
Also, at some point, Western-supplied weapons began to appear for sale on the dark net. The Switchblade 300 was also among them and at a very, very cheap price of $4,000 – $5,000.
On May 6th, we registered the first Switchblade 300 used in the Ukraine war. Then the photos of the first such drone appeared. It is not clear whether the drone fulfilled its duty or was shot down, but it is a fact that even then the Russian armed forces examined its construction.
What will happen to the Switchblade 300?
The Pentagon is the largest buyer of this drone model. For now, Washington’s suspension of purchases does not mean that the Switchblade 300’s bigger brother, the Switchblade 600, will suffer in any way. For several weeks there has been information that this drone is being used in Ukraine as well. We will be following his performance for sure in the coming weeks.
But when your top buyer stops buying, there is a real possibility that this model will be discontinued. Of course, so far there is no official such confirmation. AeroVironment, the maker of those drones, would not comment on the Army’s decision not to buy the Switchblade 300 this year.
But it’s no accident that we started this article with the phrase “Switchblade 300 is a great weapon”. It is, but for certain purposes and at a certain price. Against the background of cheap drones turned into combat, Ukraine’s decision to use small quadcopters finds logic.
As well as logic, the US should stop buying the Switchblade 300. Isn’t new technology being developed based on the Switchblade 300? Very often history remembers cases in which Washington refused to buy a given weapon because its manufacturer had already prepared a new, better, and more effective one. We will see!
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