After the successful use of the Switchblade 300 by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, France began to consider the purchase of kamikaze drones. This process took about a year, and now, the European country has placed the first order.
What is known
The U.S. Army has signed a $64.6 million contract with AeroVironment to manufacture the Switchblade 300. The shipment will include the first kamikaze drones for France and for an unknown customer.
$64.6 million is an addition to the previous order, which was concluded in August 2022. Thus, the total funding has been increased to $231.3 million. The deliveries of loitering ammunition will be completed by July 2024, but the number is not specified.
The Switchblade 300 is a disposable drone that weighs 2.5kg and costs around $6,000. The maximum flight speed is 100 km/h, but during the attack the drone can accelerate to 160 km/h. The range is 10 km.
At the end of last month, AeroVironment announced a new version of the kamikaze drone – Switchblade 300 Block 20. It weighs less than 2.3 kg and can fly for 20 minutes. The speed of the Block 20 version is not specified.