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US Considering Providing Ukraine With Killer Drones

US Considering Providing Ukraine With Killer Drones

Two congressional officials have revealed that Joe Biden's administration is debating over whether to provide Ukraine with killer drones.

Two congressional officials have revealed that President Joe Biden's administration is debating over whether to provide Ukraine with killer drones.

If the drones are sent to Ukraine, Russian tanks and artillery positions could be targeted from miles away as the guided missiles are considered extremely accurate.

The specific drones that the US are debating whether or not to send are the Switchblade 300 and 600 models.

Biden is expected to detail what will be included in the new package of military aid today, March 16.

AeroVironment, based in Washington, DC, is the manufacturer of the two variations of the weapon, NBC News reports.

On its website, on a page titled AeroVironment stand with the people of Ukraine and all of NATO, the manufacturing company stated: "We stand for freedom, and we stand with our allies and sovereign nations in their right to protect their homelands and their very lives when this fundamental right is threatened.

"Our full dedication to supporting the response to 9/11 led us to become the world leader in small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). This same sense of dedication is our catalyst to deliver next-generation, game-changing capabilities with our Switchblade® loitering missile systems, Group 3 JUMP® 20 VTOL UAS, advanced small UAS, and world-class EOD/CBRN unmanned ground vehicles.

"Ukraine and our eastern European allies need these solutions now to win against the Russian military and strategically deter future aggression. Our conviction and mission to support our warfighters fuel our purpose at AeroVironment. We stand ready to support you today."

The Switchblades – which have been dubbed 'kamikaze drones' – are single-use weapons that can be set up in minutes, launched from a tube and steered to where they need to strike or even programmed to automatically strike targets.

In essence, they are robotic smart bombs complete with explosives, guidance systems and cameras.

AeroVironment's website details the 300 as 'the ideal loitering missile for use against beyond-line-of-sight targets'. "Backpackable and rapidly deployable from air, sea or ground platforms, Switchblade 300 delivers increased warfighter lethality with real-time GPS coordinates and video for precise targeting with low collateral effects," it continued.

The 600 'represents the next generation of extended-range loitering missiles, delivering unprecedented RSTA support and featuring high-precision optics, over 40 minutes of loitering endurance, and an anti-armor warhead for engaging larger, hardened targets at greater distances'.

If Ukraine is sent the weapons as part of the US' new military aid package, Russian personnel could be targeted with the smaller 300, which is good for pinpoint strikes, whereas tanks and armoured vehicles could be subject to the Switchblade 600.

According to AeroVironment, the Switchblade 600 can fly for up a maximum of 50 miles and for 40 minutes.

The Switchblade drones are also considerably cheaper than other US missiles such as Hellfire missiles, which are fired by US Reaper drones. It is estimated that the 300 costs around $6,000.

So far, Ukraine have been using Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drones, however AeroVironment's drones can reach much quicker speeds.

If sent to and utilised by Ukraine, the move would mark the most significant time that the Switchblade has ever been used in combat.

So far, the Switchblade is only authorised for purchase in the UK.

Ukraine's 'wish list' from the US is also reported to be anti-tank Javelins, as well as portable anti-aircraft missiles called Stingers.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: NBC

Topics: Ukraine, Russia, US News, Joe Biden