The United States is discussing the possibility of supplying Ukraine with Switchblade kamikaze drones, NBC r-eported, citing congressi-onal sources. “Gazeta-.Ru” figured out how effe-ctive these drones can be.
Switchblade deliveries will be carried out as part of the next package of military assistance, a source told NBC. Earlier, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States would allocate an additional $800 million in military assistance to Ukraine, which would bring its volume to $1 billion. According to the channel’s sources, the US military used the Switchbl-ade in Afghanistan, but did not make this fact public.
Switchblade kamikaze drones were created for the US Marine Corps in 2011. There are two options: Sw-itchblade-300 and Switchblade-600. “Switchblade is launched into the air in a mortar way – it shoots back like a mine, unfolds its wings in the air, starts the engine and flies at a speed of 160 km per hour to the target area. The flight duration is 40 minutes, the range is 40 km. He has an optical-electronic camera in front of him, which is looking for a target, the operator gives a command, he dives and destroys it, ”Alexey Leonkov, a military expert, editor of the Arsenal of the Fatherland magazine, told Gazeta.Ru.
According to Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of M-issile and Artillery Scienc-es, Doctor of Military Scie-nces Konstantin Sivkov, Switchblade-300 is a small device that looks like a children’s toy – it weighs 2.5 kg, of which 1 kg is the warhead. “It’s like a small grenade from a grenade launcher. Such ammunition does not pose any threat to a tank, nor to other armored vehicles, only to open manpower,” Sivkov explained.
“Switchblade-600 is more serious. There is no data on its dimensions, but if we assume that we are ta-lking about penetrating the tank’s armor from above, then the warhead must be at least 5 kg, respectively, the weight must be at least 20 kg ” – says Sivkov.
The expert noted that these drones can work both offline and controlled by an operator. “In autonomous mode, the drone goes to a designated area and falls like a normal rocket. But the Switchblade-300 is small, it does not have a target recognition system, so it may not successfully solve the problem – just fall into an empty place and explode. If the drone is controlled by an operator, then its communication channel is jammed by portable electronic warfare equipment,” Sivkov said.
The Switchblade-300 can be fought even with small arms. “The only thing is that this drone creates additional tension for the troops, because in conditions of smoke or cloudiness it can suddenly appear and suddenly strike,” Sivkov emphasized. According to the expert, the most unpleasant thing that can be in using these drones is not their single use, but in a big salvo.
“As for the Switchblade-600, since it is larger, it can be destroyed by fire from automatic anti-aircraft guns. In the event that such ammunition appears in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Russian troops will ha-ve to increase their air def-ense systems, ”Sivkov beli-eves.
Most likely, the fight against these loitering ammunition will be carried out by destroying warehouses with these devices at the moment when they are unloaded on them on the territory of Ukraine. “This is the most reliable way,” Sivkov argues.
According to Leonkov, it is impossible to call Swi-tchblade kamikaze drones effective for “mass use”.
“This is a point weapon that is used on single targets. They can destroy vehicles, lightly armored. Heavily armored – no. Russian tanks have active dynamic protection, and it is almost impossible to break through it, and then the tank’s armor, with such ammunition. American kamikaze drones will not help Ukraine. This is not a weapon that can change the balance of power. But his deliveries can be considered successful PR. Like, we help, Leonkov said.
According to his forecast, Switchblade will face the same fate in Ukraine as Bayraktar TB2. “Turkish UAVs did not help the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the myth about them as super-drones was dispelled, now it’s up to American loitering ammunition. They are perfectly caught by our anti-aircraft missile systems, MANPADS, short-range anti-aircraft missile systems – they are detected and can be destroyed. As soon as such ammunition lights up, they will be eliminated,” the expert is convinced.