Reference News Network reported on December 26 that according to a report on the U.S. “Defense News” weekly website on the 24th, the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense signed an agreement to purchase “Switchblade” 600 suicide attack drones from the United States. The country became the first NATO member in Europe to order the drone system.
According to the report, Lithuanian Defense Minister Arvidas Anusauskas said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense: “We are the first country in the world to purchase the Switchblade 600 drone after the United States. These combat drones are a new combat capability that individual soldiers can deploy.
The Lithuanian Army can use this type of drone to destroy enemy tanks and other armored vehicles at a distance of 40 kilometers. Our Army does not yet have this combat capability.”
The statement said the agreement involved an amount of approximately $48 million. Made by Aero-Environment, the drone is sometimes called a “loitering bomb.”
The report said it is unclear how many Switchblade 600 UAV systems Lithuania will receive. As part of its efforts to counter Russia, Ukraine has fielded the Switchblade 300 anti-infantry drones on the battlefield.
In addition, other countries along the route located in Russia’s western frontier region are also currently procuring attack drones. For example, Poland leased the MQ-9A “Reaper” attack drone from General Atomics in October and is currently preparing to purchase this drone. Romania signed a framework agreement with Israel’s Elbit Systems this month to purchase up to seven Overwatch X drones.
According to the report, at the same time, according to the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense, the country’s military may also purchase “Switchblade” 300 drones from the United States in the near future. The statement said Vilnius wanted Washington to fund possible purchases as part of military aid to European allies.
Prior to this, Lithuania and the United States had just signed an agreement involving a value of 495 million U.S. dollars, aiming to purchase as many as 8 sets of M142 high-mobility self-propelled multiple launch rocket systems (the “Hippocampus”). The weapons mentioned above are scheduled to be delivered between 2025 and 2026.