Lithuania orders US Switchblade 300 & 600 loitering munitions kamikaze drones

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense announced on December 22, 2022, a signature with the United States for the procurement of American-made Switchblade 300 and Switchblade 600 loitering munitions designed and manufactured by the company AeroVironment. The contract value amounts to approx. €45 million.
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American Switchblade 600 loitering munition at the front et Switchblade 300 at the rear. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Following this acquisition, Lithuania will be the first country in the world to acquire the Switchblade 300 and 600 loitering munitions.

The Lithuanian Ministry of Defense did not disclose the number of Switchblade 606 that will be delivered to the Lithuanian armed forces but the contract also includes the delivery of the Switchblade 300 which is the smaller and light version in the Switchblade family.

“Aside from the United States itself, we are the first country worldwide to acquire the Switchblade 600 system. The drones are a new deployable capability that will allow the Lithuanian Armed Forces to destroy enemy tanks and other armored equipment 40 km away. Our Armed Forces has not had such a capability before,” says Lithuanian Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.

The United States is Lithuania’s partner and one of the key Allies for the security of the Baltic region. The Americans are actively engaged in security assurance measures in the Baltic states, and efforts to strengthen regional security and stability. The U.S. actively contributes troops, equipment, and finance to the Baltic defense.

In recent months, Lithuania has signed other contracts with the United States for the acquisition of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles JLTV, HIMARS long-range rocket artillery systems and Black Hawk helicopters.

The Switchblade 300 is a miniature loitering munition or suicide drone also developed and designed by the American company AeroVironment. It is a backpackable, rapidly deployable, loitering precision strike missile that can be used against beyond-line-of-sight (BLOS) targets, from either mobile positions in the field or from a fixed defensive position for base security.

The Switchblade 300 is propelled by an electric engine, so its small size and silent flight make it extremely difficult to detect or try to intercept, enabling it to close in on a target at 157 km/h. It can fly about 10 km and loiter over a target for roughly 15 minutes.

Lithuania orders US Switchblade 300 600 loitering munitions kamikaze drones 925 002

The Switchblade 600 is a loitering munition also called a suicide drone developed and designed by the American company AeroVironment. It is the big brother of the Switchblade 300 but fitted with an ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) warhead based on the Javelin anti-tank missile, designed to neutralize tanks and heavy armored vehicles.

The Switchblade 600 loitering munition is powered by an electric battery and propeller. It is designed to fly out to 40 km in 20 minutes, and then loiter for another 20 minutes. It can reach a maximum flying speed of 185 km/h.