The White House launched a new $800 million military aid package for Ukraine on Wednesday in an effort to aid the country in its struggle against Russia’s ongoing invasion. Experts believe that cutting-edge aerial drones could prove extremely damaging to Russian forces as part of the help package. 9,000 anti-armor systems, 7,000 small guns, and 100 tactical unmanned aircraft systems are among the weaponry to be supplied, according to President Biden. The aerial equipment to be supplied, according to a US official, will be miniature Switchblade drones.
The drones are available in two models: the Switchblade 600 and the Switchblade 300, both manufactured by AeroVironment in California. The 600 is designed to strike armored vehicles and tanks, while the former is designed to hit smaller, more precise targets. The 300 is under 2 feet long, weighs 5.5 pounds, and has a 15-minute flight time. The larger drone weighs 50 pounds and has a range of 25 miles. It can fly for 40 minutes. Individual soldiers can carry both in their backpacks and deploy them. It is unknown whether or not both models will be included in the shipment.
The drones, according to their manufacturer, can cruise at 65 mph and are equipped with cameras and GPS systems. They’re single-use, which means they’ll explode after hitting their target and can’t be recovered once launched. The Switchblades also have a “wave-off” option that allows operators to cancel an operation if civilians arrive near the target or the adversary retreats. Mick Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, said, “These were built for US Special Operations Command and are exactly the type of weapons systems that may have an instant impact on the battlefield.”
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