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Lithuania Procures Switchblade Kamikaze Drones From US

Lithuania and the US have signed a 45-million-euro ($47.8 million) contract for the delivery of Switchblade 600 “kamikaze” drones, making the Baltic nation the first country to acquire the loitering munition aside from the US.

The agreement includes launch and control capabilities, maintenance, and personnel training simulation platform associated with the drones.

“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,” Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas stated. “Our Armed Forces has not had such a capability before.”

Furthermore, the US will provide Lithuania with the Switchblade 300, a scalable and lightweight variant of the 600 series. The delivery will be financed by US military assistance funds.

The contract supports US efforts to ensure regional security and stability in the Baltic States, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence.

The Switchblade 600

Developed by AeroVironment, the Switchblade 600 is a long-range loitering munition equipped with next-generation electro-optical/infrared gimbaled imaging systems that allow it to identify and track non-line-of-sight targets.

It can be launched by a single person in less than 10 minutes from setup.

US Marine launches Switchblade 300 drone during training
US Marine launches Switchblade 300 drone during training in September 2021 in California. Photo: Alexis Moradian/US Marine Corps

The drone can be deployed in a fixed position for up to 40 minutes of flight time and attacks threats in a direct downward approach.

The Switchblade 600 is effective against heavy-armored land vehicles, including tanks.

Lithuania’s Growing Drone Fleet

The agreement follows Lithuania’s September procurement process for mini and small drones.

This separate deal orders reconnaissance drone variants that meet the Class 1 capability requirement (below 150 kilograms/331 pounds) set by the Lithuanian defense ministry.

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