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Loitering munitions in Ukraine: not game-changing, but headache-inducing

26th May 2022 - 11:00 GMT | by Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo in Milan


Switchblade launch during a USMC training exercise in July 2021. (Photo: USMC/Pfc Sarah Pysher)

In terms of the emerging capabilities of loitering munitions, the Russo-Ukrainian war is serving as a proving ground before our eyes.

While the first weeks of the Ukraine war saw Ukrainian drones primarily involved in surveillance and recon missions, this changed after the US government agreed to provide the country with AeroVironment Switchblade loitering munitions — also known as suicide drones — in April 2022.

Eleven weeks into the conflict, the first reported evidence of the use of a Switchblade attack emerged near Kharkiv on 6 May. Washington has sent 700 Switchblade 300s and ten Switchblade 600s to Ukraine, in addition to 121 Phoenix Ghost platforms from Aevex Aerospace.

The recent introduction of such technologies is important in Ukraine, as this

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Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo


Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a freelance security and defense reporter based in Milan, Italy. She covers …

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