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Australia Buys Precision Loitering Munition Used in Ukraine

The Australian government has announced the acquisition of Switchblade 300 precision loitering munitions from American manufacturer AeroVironment.

The procurement follows the apparent success of the suicide drone in neutralizing Russian military assets, even in the presence of sophisticated electronic warfare systems.

According to the country’s defense ministry, the move will equip the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with “world-leading lethality and protection” to effectively perform various missions.

It would also help ensure the military maintains a strategic advantage over potential adversaries.

“The prosperity and security of our nation will always be a top priority…” defense industry minister Pat Conroy said. “That’s why giving our soldiers the critical capabilities they need to protect Australians, and their interests, is paramount.”

Below Threshold?

Canberra has not yet disclosed the value of the contract or how many Switchblades are being procured.

However, it said initial deliveries are expected later this year.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), which typically announces the sales of US-made defense systems to foreign entities, has yet to issue a formal notification regarding the Australian acquisition.

However, with Canberra expecting deliveries this year, the foreign military sale has likely already been approved.

One possible reason the sale has not appeared on the DSCA website is that it has not reached a certain threshold, which for Australia is $25 million, which would mean the total value of the order would be less than 37 million Australian dollars.

About the Switchblade 300

AeroVironment’s Switchblade 300 is a miniature drone capable of attacking enemy armored vehicles, fortifications, or beyond-line-of-sight assets.

It can be fired from either a mobile position on the field or from a fixed defensive position.

The system also operates with a low acoustic signature, making it difficult to detect, recognize, or track even at very close range.

Additionally, it provides real-time video and cursor-on-target GPS coordinates to aid target acquisition and information gathering.

Australia’s acquisition of the Switchblade 300 is expected to boost the ADF’s arsenal of around 760 unmanned aerial systems for surveillance, reconnaissance, and attack missions.

Apart from Ukraine, the unmanned platform has been used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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