The Switchblade 600 suicide drone is equipped with the same warhead as the Javelin anti-tank guided missile. The Switchblade 600, developed for armoured targets, can fly up to 40 kilometres and stay in the air for up to 20 minutes.
After the contract is completed, the actual handover timing of the Switchblade 600 UAV will be determined.
As part of numerous weapons aid packages, the US has deployed smaller, lighter Switchblade 300 UAVs manufactured by AeroVironment to Ukraine. Earlier in April, the Pentagon stated that it hoped to supply 10 heavier, longer-range UAVs to Kiev, but no deliveries have yet occurred.
The Switchblade 600 is still in testing and needs to go through a review procedure before it can be fielded, which contributes to the delay.
Aleksey Reznikov, the defence minister of Ukraine, requested last month that allies and collaborators send new, cutting-edge weaponry to Kiev so that it can be tested in live combat.
“We communicate all knowledge and insights to our partners. Reznikov stated at the time, “We are interested in testing contemporary systems in actual warfare and we are encouraging armament manufacturers to test their new goods in Ukraine.
The Switchblade 300 has a 10 km working range and a 10 min operating duration. Targeting armoured targets, the larger Switchblade 600 version can fly up to 40 kilometres and hover for up to 20 minutes.