AeroVironment has unveiled a new version of its Switchblade suicide drone featuring significant performance and capability improvements.
Called the Switchblade 300 Block 20, the new unmanned platform reportedly builds on the Block 10C’s “battle-proven” performance, but now boasts 20 minutes of flight endurance.
Previous versions can only fly for up to 15 minutes.
The Block 20 also has an improved data link range and a sophisticated electro-optical/infrared camera suite.
The new Switchblade variant maintains its patented “wave-off” capability that enables users to recommit against moving targets.
Switchblade is a lightweight loitering munition that can be launched from a tube by a single user in less than two minutes.
It utilizes a tablet-based fire control system that allows operators to plan and execute missions in highly-dynamic environments.
Weighing just under five pounds, the drone can be deployed from land, sea, or mobile platforms, providing the military with greater mission flexibility.
It can perform tactical reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition, as well as provide real-time video coverage for beyond-line-of-sight targets.
“Since pioneering the loitering missile category with Switchblade 300 more than a decade ago, our tactical missile systems have proven to be a game-changing capability for both US and allied forces, providing a remarkably rapid, precise, and effective way to address lethal threats,” AeroVironment vice president Brett Hush said.
Success in Ukraine
AeroVironment has promoted the reported success of the Switchblade suicide drone in protecting Ukrainian infrastructure from Russian attacks.
It even created a website feature of the loitering munition in Kyiv, showing various tactics of engaging enemies.
In addition, the drone reportedly helps in providing improved situational awareness and precision firepower to Ukrainian armed forces.
“Ukraine and our eastern European allies need these solutions now to win against the Russian military and strategically deter future aggression,” the company stated on its website.