Newest tank-killing Switchblade drones headed to Ukraine from U.S., defense secretary says

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Ukrainian soldier walking past destroyed Russian tanks
Ukrainian soldier walking past destroyed Russian tanks SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images

The $300 million lethal aid package for Ukraine that the Pentagon announced Friday will include the latest Switchblade combat drones, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed Tuesday.

According to Bloomberg, the White House previously announced a shipment of "series 300" Switchblade drones, which weigh 3.3 pounds, can fly about six miles and stay aloft for about 15 minutes, and are "designed to attack personnel and light vehicles" with a warhead roughly equivalent to a 40mm grenade.

The Switchblade-600 drones to which Austin referred, Bloomberg reports, weigh 50 pounds, can fly over 24 miles and stay aloft for 40 minutes, and and have the capability to destroy tanks.

Writing for The Spectator on Tuesday, Sam Cranny-Evans explains that the Switchblade-300 "is launched from a tube," is "about the size of a baguette," and "is fitted with an explosive warhead," noting that the warhead on the Switchblade-600 is the same one used by Javelin anti-tank missiles.

For both models, the "operator flies the drone into an area of interest before detecting, identifying, and attacking a target with lethal effect," Cranny-Evans added. Switchblade drones are sometimes referred to as "kamikaze drones" because they crash into their targets and explode on contact.

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