Like a scene out of a horror movie, the Russians could soon be finding themselves hunted by a killer swarm. The swarm would come in the form of AeroVironment’s backpackable, rapidly deployable, loitering precision strike missile called, Switchblade. The Switchblade 300, with a range of just over 6 miles, has a flight endurance of 15 mins and weighs just over 5 pounds. The Switchblade 600 has a weight of 50 pounds and is for larger, more hardened targets and carries an anti-armor warhead. The range of the 600 is over 20 miles with a flight endurance time of 40 minutes. Unit cost is around $6,000 for each Switchblade, inexpensive compared to Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 drone, which costs between $1 and $2 million. The Switchblade, which destroys itself on impact, can be launched from anywhere, making it ideal for Ukrainian troops as Russia targets the country’s airstrips needed to launch the TB2. The addition of the Switchblade to the Ukrainian arsenal provides a more cost-effective diversified approach to targeting Russian troops and vehicles. Carl Surran of Seeking Alpha writes (abridged):
The U.S. is expected to talk about a new round of military aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, which could include the drones, although no decisions on the Switchblades have been made, according to the report.
The Switchblade 300 is used for targeting personnel, while the Switchblade 600 is used for targeting equipment including armored vehicles, such as tanks; the set-up time for the drones can take just minutes, and they can be programmed to aim at targets miles away.
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