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Switchblade drones – unmanned military drones that self-destruct

Public interest in Switchblade drones has grown in response to the escalation of violence in Ukraine. Bloomberg reported two days ago that the US is sending the new Switchblade 600 model (whereas earlier in the conflict, the US had sent 100 of the 300 models) in response to the atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine.

Switchblade model 300 capabilities

  • Small <10 lb drone that can be launched and flown by a small unit
  • ~6-mile range with a top speed of 100 MPH during dash, it can stay up in the air for 15-minutes at a time
  • Self-destructs with the force of a 40 mm grenade after rushing a target
Marketing from AeroVironment: the Switchblade 300 model is much smaller, can travel only 6 miles, and can approach targets to self-destruct with the equivalent explosive power of a 40 mm grenade.

Switchblade model 600 capabilities

  • Large 50 lb drone that can be launched and flown by a small unit.
  • ~24-mile operational range with a top speed of 115 MPH during dash can stay up in the air for 40-minutes at a time. The Switchblade 600 can fly 48 miles and self-destruct if it doesn’t have to return to base.
  • Self-destructs with enough force to take out medium armored vehicles and personnel
Marketing from AeroVironment: the Switchblade 600 model can travel 24 miles with an anti-armor (anti-tank) warhead; the drone self-destructs on its target when found.
Here a close-up look at the Switchblade 300 from NBC news:

What are switchblade drones?

Switchblade drones include the series 300 and 600 made by AeroVironment, and they are both armed military drones. These drones self-destruct when used to engage a target, and both models can be used against personnel or armored vehicles.

The smaller of the 2 drones, the Switchblade 300 can travel about 6 miles and is armed with the equivalent ordinance of a 40mm grenade. The larger Switchblade 600 series can travel about 24 miles and has a large anti-armor explosive capable of destroying tanks.

What are Switchblade 300 drones for?

Switchblade 300 drones are designed for precision strikes in difficult-to-reach areas. They are equipped with a specialized guidance system that allows them to accurately remotely targets from miles away. The drones are also outfitted with a payload of explosives that are used in a kamikaze strike, making them ideal for taking out enemy infantry or lightly armored vehicles. In addition, their small size and quiet engines make them difficult to detect, allowing them to approach targets without being detected.

What can a Switchblade 300 drone do? Can it destroy a tank?

The Switchblade drone is a small, lightweight drone that packs a powerful punch. Equipped with a standard video camera and an optional infrared camera, the Switchblade can be used for surveillance missions in both day and night conditions. The Switchblade 300 has the equivalent explosive power of a 40mm grenade which can penetrate lightly armored targets but will not destroy a fully armored vehicle like a tank.

Who makes switchblade drones?

AeroVironment US defense contractor based in Arlington, Virginia. They are known for their unmanned and frequently weaponized drones. AeroVironment holds multiple ongoing US defense contracts to provide UAVs and technology to the military.

How much does a switchblade drone cost?

The model 300 switchblade drone has a per-unit cost of $70,200. The model 600 has no available price but is roughly 10 times the size of the model 300 and is likely considerably more expensive.

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