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Analysis: Discover Switchblade loitering munition used in Ukraine to destroy Russian tanks

According to a video released by the Ukrainian armed forces on May 24, 2022, the Special Forces Operations of the Ukrainian army use US Switchblade loitering munition to destroy a Russian T-72B3 main battle tank (MBT). In this article, discover the technology and the combat capabilities of the Switchblade 600, the anti-tank version in the Switchblade loitering munition family.
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A loitering munition is used by Special Forces of the Ukrainian army to destroy a Russian army T-72B3 tank. (Picture source Ukraine Mod)

According to information released by the U.S. Department of Defense, military aid to Ukraine will reach the amount of $53 billion. Recently, the United States has approved a budget of $40 billion in emergency funding to support Ukraine.

Since the beginning of the war United States has delivered around 800 loitering munition including Switchblade 300 and 600 manufactured by the American company AeroVironment as well as the Phoenix Ghost.

The Switchblade 600 is an all-in-none man-portable solution required to successfully launch, fly, track and engage non-line-of-sight targets. This means that the operator must not have a direct view of his target. The Switchblade munition can be set up and operated in less than 10 minutes.

The Switchblade 600 is an anti-armor loitering munition that is equipped with an ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) warhead based on the Javelin missile, designed to destroy tanks and armored vehicles.

The Switchblade 600 loitering munition is equipped with high-resolution EO/IR (Electro-Optical/Infra-Red) gimbaled sensors and advanced precision flight control to guide the munition to the target. The drone is controlled via a tablet-based touch screen fire-control system with the option to pilot the missile manually. Patented wave-off and recommit capability allows operators to abort the mission at any time and then re-engage either the same or other targets multiple times based on operator command.

The Switchblade 600 has a flight range of 40 km and endurance of 40 min. Thanks to its very lightweight of 50 kg, it can be easily transported in a backpack and quickly deployed on the battlefield. It can be operated by a single soldier.

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