Pentagon official says US sending Ukraine 100 Switchblade drones

Cpl. Alexis Moradian/U.S. Marine Corps via Associated Press

The United States is in the process of sending 100 Switchblade drones to Ukraine as it fights Russia’s invasion, a Pentagon official told lawmakers on Wednesday. 

The Switchblade 300 is a rapidly-deployable system that can be used against targets within over six miles while being difficult to detect or track. The Switchblade 600 is a larger system with a range of just below 25 miles.  

Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, said in a House Armed Services Committee hearing that the drones were part of the $800 million in military assistance that President Biden announced earlier this month.

Wallander didn’t say which version of the Switchblade was being sent to Ukraine.

“We have committed 100 Switchblade tactical unmanned aerial systems to be delivered in the most recent package of presidential drawdown,” Wallander said. 

A fact sheet of the weapons package, which Biden announced on March 16 following Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s virtual address to Congress, said that Ukraine would be getting “100 tactical unmanned aerial systems” that the White House described in a fact sheet about the drones.

Shortly after Biden announced the deal, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas,) ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Politico that the Switchblades were part of the deal, which an administration official later confirmed to the outlet.

The U.S. has rushed over $2 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the start of the Biden administration.

Biden called Zelensky on Wednesday to discuss “the ongoing work by the United States and its allies and partners to deliver military, economic, and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and to impose severe costs on Russia for its brutal aggression against Ukraine,” according to a readout of the call.

Tags Biden Joe Biden Michael McCaul Volodymyr Zelensky
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