Lithuania ‘first country in world’ to buy Switchblade suicide drones after US
Vilnius will soon sign a contract with an American industrialist, the defense minister of Lithuania said. These kamikaze drones brought by Washington to Kiev are used in the Ukrainian war.
Along with Himars rocket launchers and Javelin missiles, Switchblade suicide drones have been among the most prominent American weapons deployed in the war in Ukraine for several months. “Ukrainians who bought more than 700 weapons use this ammunition.”huntersagainst Russian tanks, armored vehicles and artillery. After the war raging in Eastern Europe, Lithuania decided to take this step.the first country in the world– Outside the United States – placing an order for such a weapon.
“A contract will be signed with the Switchblade 600 manufacturer in the coming days. These are combat drones with a flight range of 40 kilometers.“Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvydas Anusauskas told Lithuania’s LRT TV channel last Monday, without specifying the amount of the contract or the number of drones that Vilnius could buy.
Contract for Himars
However, there are some doubts that Lithuania will really be the leader.the first country in the worldAs the minister said, the United Kingdom decided to import such drones from the US as it announced the purchase of such drones in March 2021, but it was the Switchblade 300, while Vilnius chose the more advanced version, the Switchblade 600.armor piercing» increased.
Made by AeroVironment, the ultra-compact drone, launched from a small rocket launcher, launches an explosive charge and flies towards its target before reaching its target – hence the name suicide drone, or kamikaze. Version “300“It can be carried in a backpack and is equipped with a charge equivalent to a simple grenade, weighing only 2.5 kilograms, traveling a distance of only 10 kilometers. Version “600The Lithuanian-acquired Javelin, which weighs about 15 kilograms and has a range of up to 40 kilometers, can carry a larger payload, equivalent to the payload of an anti-tank missile.
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This is the latest versionarmor piercingespecially useful in the war in Ukraine, where the use of tanks is massive. For their part, the Russians are deploying the Lancet suicide drone in Ukraine, along with Iran’s Shahed-136 drones, which are used to strike fixed targets such as energy infrastructure.
Lithuania’s purchase of this new American weapon is not the first incident that reminds us of the context of the war in Ukraine. Ten days ago, Vilnius signed a $495 million contract with the United States for the purchase of HIMARS systems (High Mobility Artillery Missile System). This highly accurate multiple rocket salvo system, capable of reaching a range of 80 kilometers or even 300 kilometers with an ATACMS missile that has not been delivered to Kiev, is successfully used by the Ukrainians to strike the rear of the Russian army, especially its logistical base.
Alliance between Russia and Belarus
The agreements, signed by Lithuania, a NATO member since 2004, also come at a time when tensions are rising with neighboring Belarus, an ally of Moscow, and fears that it will go to war against Ukraine on Russia’s side. This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited their Belarusian counterparts in Minsk amid growing military cooperation between the two countries.
In this regard, the head of the Lithuanian defense wanted to be quite reassuring. “Currently, the security situation in Lithuania and our region as a whole has not changed. It remains the same as at the beginning of the war […]. There is currently no threat of a conventional attack against NATO countries“, Arvydas Anushauskas told the Lithuanian LRT TV channel in an interview in October of this year Figaro Despite this, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte expressed her concern by declaring that “Belarus has become a Russian military base.”