Explosive drones are said to be part of a ‘wishlist’ of American weapons sought by Kiev
A rendering of a ‘Switchblade’ drone, seen in a promotional video © YouTube / AeroVironment Inc.
The Biden administration is weighing whether to send explosives-laden ‘Switchblade’ drones to Ukraine, NBC News reported on Wednesday. The aircraft, which can loiter above the battlefield before propelling themselves toward an enemy, are just one weapons system Kiev has petitioned the US for.
The drones, manufactured by Virginia defense contractor AeroVironment, come in two varieties: One that targets personnel and another that targets vehicles. Equipped with cameras, guidance systems, and explosives, the robotic bombs can fly up to 50 miles to strike a target, or can circle above a battlefield before dive-bombing an enemy below.
These “kamikaze” drones are significantly cheaper than larger and more sophisticated vehicles, and have a lower price tag than other single-use munitions that the US has supplied to Ukraine in recent weeks. A single Javelin launch system and missile costs $178,000, according to the Pentagon’s 2021 budget, while an anti-personnel Switchblade drone costs $6,000, NBC reported.