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Switchblade from USA, produced by AeroVironment


The AeroVironment Switchblade is a miniature loitering munition designed by AeroVironment and used by several branches of the United States military. Small enough to fit in a backpack, the Switchblade launches from a tube, flies to the target area, and crashes into its target while detonating its explosive warhead. The name Switchblade comes from the way the spring-loaded wings are folded up inside a tube and flip out once released.

Introduced in 2011, the original Switchblade was rebranded the Switchblade 300 after the much larger and very different Switchblade 600 anti-armor variant was unveiled in 2020. The Blackwing, an unarmed variant of the Switchblade 300, was released in 2015. More than 700 Switchblade 300 drones were sent to Ukraine by the United States as part of an arms package after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Switchblade 300

The Switchblade 300 is designed as an expendable UAV to offer precision firepower for platoon-sized infantry units.

It helps engage long-range targets and assists in relieving units pinned down by enemy fire. It can identify, track, and engage targets and follow a pre-programmed course.

It has been used to destroy light armored vehicles and personnel. The operator can call to re-target a unit en route.Its small size and silent flight makes it extremely difficult to detect or intercept.

The Switchblade uses the same Ground Control Station (GCS) as other AeroVironment UAVs, including the Wasp, RQ-11 Raven, and RQ-20 Puma. This creates a commonality and the potential for teaming of longer-endurance small UAVs to recon for targets, then having the Switchblade attack once they are identified with the same controller.

Block 10C
Each Block 10C unit is 2 ft (610 mm) long and weighs 6 lb (2.7 kg) including the carrying case and launcher, making it small and light enough for one soldier to carry. It can be controlled at distances of up to 10 km (6.2 mi). Flight time is 10 minutes. It is equipped with (daytime) color and infrared camerasand a GPS locator. Its warhead is equivalent to a 40mm grenade. An electric motor propels the aircraft and can reach speeds of 85 knots (98 mph; 157 km/h).

Block 20
Block 20 increases flight time to 20 minutes. It features an improved DDL range. It has an EO/IR panning camera suite to provide real-time video and left-hand commit with continuous identification (PID).

It has a gross weight of about 8 lb (3.6 kg). The 4-lb (2-kg) unit can be launched in less than two minutes. The launch tube includes an integrated control and can support land, sea, and mobile platforms.

Switchblade 600
The larger Switchblade 600 loitering munition weighs 54.5 kg (120 lb) including the all-up round in the tube and FCS; the airframe weighs 22.7 kg (50 lb), with the fire control-system consisting of a tablet and long-range antenna. The system is man-portable and can be set up in 10 minutes. It is designed to fly out to 40 km (25 mi) in 20 minutes, then loiter for another 20 minutes (giving it an 80 km (50 mi) total range), however, reaching its maximum capable range requires using two long-range antennas deployed on the field to relay command from one operator to another through the handoff capability of the data link. It attacks at a 115 mph (185 km/h) dash speed, carrying an ATGM warhead based on the Javelin ATGM, designed to neutralize armored vehicles.

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