Video footage (we have placed the video below as it is of a graphic nature) of a Ukrainian soldier firing a Switchblade 300 drone has emerged online, revealing just how easy the drone is to launch and use. The footage, shared on Twitter and doing the rounds on several other social media platforms, shows a soldier holding the launch tube down on the ground with his foot.
Using a handheld switch, the soldier launches the UAV into the air. As the drone leaves the tube, its wings rapidly unfold, and the drone is fired into the air.
Once in the air, the soldiers use a ground station to surveil the area using the drone’s onboard camera system.
Unlike man-portable air-defense systems that require a soldier to launch the missile from over the shoulder, the tiny Switchblade 300 system is small enough to launch from the ground. The entire unit can also be folded up and placed inside of a rucksack.
No other details about the video were shared. However, the computer screen in the footage displays the date 4/24/2022 on the bottom of the screen – indicating that the launch could have taken place in April.
Watch a Switchblade Drone Destroy a Russian Tank
Footage released by Ukraine’s Special Operations Forces on Facebook on Tuesday shows a Switchblade drone surveilling Ukrainian territory, identifying a Russian tank, and striking the site.
The video includes footage from the Switchblade drone that strikes the tank, as well as a nearby drone that recorded the blast. Russian soldiers can be seen sitting on top of the tank drinking alcohol.
As the loitering munition drops from the sky and approaches the tank at high speeds, the Russian soldiers can be seen looking up at the incoming drone. The video then quickly cuts out. Additional footage in the same video shows the drone striking the tank, creating plumes of gray smoke.
A cutting-edge suicide drone equipped with powerful explosives flew right into the tank, inflicting irreparable losses on the enemy. The whole process of destroying the enemy was filmed by a camera located on the killer drone,” the Facebook post reads.
Almost 1,000 Drones Already In Ukraine
In March, the United States included 100 Switchblade 300 drones in a weapons package sent to Ukraine.
In April, an additional 600 Switchblades were pledged to Ukraine.
The ease of use of the drones has made them one of the most popular weapons for Ukrainian soldiers. Small, easy to carry, and capable of targeting enemy vehicles and sites with great precision, the AeroVironment drone has become one of the most recognizable weapons in the 2022 Russia-Ukraine war.
ворог жорстокий і підступний, він сильний і його більше за нас, але правда за нами і воля свята і найгірше для ворога, тільки починається.
Слава Україне! pic.twitter.com/nOVT16qScG
— Che Ua (@posoh_Strannika) May 25, 2022
The large Switchblade 600 drone, however, has not yet reached Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.