According to DOTD, as of May, the US has sent 37 rounds of military aid to Ukraine, totaling 35.7 billion of shipments to date. The aid primarily consisted of hundreds of artillery, tanks, APC, helicopters, support vehicles, various anti-aircraft systems including a Patriot battery, millions of rounds of ammunition, missiles, bombs, and of course, an array of newly fielded military drones.
By reviewing the defense.gov’s reports, we can see that the US has sent 7 different types of drone systems to Ukraine.
Switchblade Series 300 & 600 drones
Switchblade drones are a type of military drone that are designed as “loitering ammunition” so that once launched Switchblade drones stay up in the air until they acquire a target; once a drone finds a target on the ground, like an enemy tank or position, it will rush towards that target at high speed and detonate on impact.
Phoenix Ghost drones
The Phoenix Ghost drone is a military drone classified as a “small-explosive” or “loitering munition” drone. Phoenix Ghost drones came into the spotlight in 2022 when the US military announced them as a part of aid packages to Ukraine. They are designed to be operated by small groups or even a single soldier to take out forward enemy positions remotely.
CyberLux K8 drones
The owner of CyberLux actually went to Ukraine to deploy K8 drones as reconnaissance drones to prove that they worked. The Wall Street Journal did a piece on it and how he is landing a contract with the Pentagon while being a very small company. Because the K8 drone was adapted from a cinema camera drone (the X8) it’s likely a recon drone, but it can carry payloads heavy enough for it to be used as a fast self-destruct drone (99 MPH top speed).
The Altius 600 drone is a military drone; it can be carried and shot by a single soldier in the field. An Altius is shot or tube launched to deploy it for flight. AREAI, the drone maker, says it can be launched from common ballistics platforms, enabling it to be deployed from “land, sea or air”. This type of drone is often considered a complex munition or “loitering kamikaze” style drone. That is because the Altius 600 is launched with a 3- 6 lb payload that is detonated when the drone attacks its target.
The JUMP 20 is a fixed-wing, vertical takeoff, and landing drone designed to provide advanced intelligence services. With an impressive endurance of over 14 hours and an operational range of up to 115 miles, the JUMP 20 is perfect for multi-mission operations.
Puma 3AE drones
The Puma 3AE is the newest version of the Puma, but this drone has been a mainstay in the military for over a decade. First flow by the US military in 2007 as reconnaissance drones that 1 soldier can easily launch, they were used in Iraq and Afghanistan to help provide intel on the immediate surroundings of military bases. The newest version the 3AE, looks to have been updated by the manufacturer’s (AeroVironment) description to carry an optional payload presumably used for explosives.
Scan Eagle Drones
Boeing makes Scan Eagle drones; they are used for long-range and long-endurance surveillance. The scan eagle has been in service the longest of any drone on this list, first flow in 2002 and introduced to service by 2005. It has a range of just over 60 miles and can fly for 20 hours. These drones were used extensively in Afghanistan and Iraq for military surveillance. Scan Eagle drones are expensive for their size and require a large launcher called an Insitu to be deployed.