The date is october, 25th, 1944 and world war ii has been dragging on for five long years. Youve been in the war going on three, the wars going well for you, bloody, but well, and the battle of leyte gulf is currently the focus of the pacific. The largest naval battle in history, japans losing and everybody knows it. However, theyre getting pretty desperate your ship. The sun low is an american escort, carry that isnt a supply role, but is still a vital one. Suddenly, around noon, the call comes in 24 japanese planes spotted on the horizon, but first youre confused 24. What can they hope to achieve with 24 planes? Then you realize they arent even dive bombers or torpedo bombers theyre fighters, but what can a fighter achieve against an aircraft carrier? Then you see one of the planes it doesnt open fire, nor does it take any evasive action. You realize its on a direct course for your ship moments. Later, a hundred americans would die in the first kamikaze attack in modern history. A moment that would change. Warfare for the rest of time today were going to be looking at the latest innovation in kamikaze tactics. The biggest cost in kamikaze tactics has always been the loss of life, but what is the loss when your kamikaze is mechanical? Oh well, today were going to be discussing the air over on mens switchblade kamikaze drone or, as others have referred to it, a ukraines deadliest weapon, Music, leaving the intro to this video behind the switchblade drone isnt, exactly inspired by the kamikazes of world war ii, at Least, not officially, they were designed by the american company air over on and on instructions given them by the united states, air force, strategic operations command, and they were designed to provide u.

s special forces with an additional eye in the sky, their very own practical, kill streak. In a sense, in 2011, when the drones were originally conceived by the afsoc, the us was stuck in a bitter war in afghanistan. The unique problems posed to them by that environment are the immediate reasons that led to the development of the switchblade, those problems being. Firstly, the american forces often found themselves fighting in mountainous terrain being ambushed by unseen foes. This terrain made it very difficult to get air support to troops who needed it. It wasnt as simple as working out what direction and flying as the pilots would also need to account for elevation to ensure that they didnt accidentally arrive in the side of a mountain. Secondly, the american answer to antitank weapons. The fgm 148 javelin was deemed to inefficient one traveling costs around 216 717, with an additional hundred and forty nine thousand seven hundred dollars per missile that you require for comparison, switchblade, just six thousand dollars a unit. The jablins also worked off an infrared guidance system which faced many problems in the mountains that we mentioned before. The final issue with javelins was just how huge they were and any soldier using a javelin was required to drop their guard just to set the thing up, and normally thered need to be another soldier around to assist with the aiming process. It was deemed that the javelin simply wasnt worth nearly half a million dollars a shot when most of its targets were just small buildings or trucks, not big tanks like theyd, been designed for at this time.

In the us military, the appropriately named mq 9 reaper had been in service for around 10 years. The reaper was the uav that had replaced much of the old close airsport aircraft used by the united states air force. This is where afsoc got their idea. What if, instead of carrying an unwieldy weapon, that would lose signal every five seconds they instead supplied each operator with their own personal reaper. The idea of human portable uavs wasnt you either air over on and had designed the rq11 raven and the rq20 puma both designed to provide a spotting role for forces on the ground, neither equipped with any weapons. This history, in the field is what drew afsoc to aeroveronment, resulting in the awarding of a 4.9 million contract on the 29th of july 2011, later subsidized, with a further 5.1 million on the 20th of march 2012.. The aim was rapid fielding of a withheld amount of switchblades to afghanistan for comparison, the javelin cost upwards of 30 million dollars to develop over the course of 10 years Music. The earliest orders of the switchblade were in may 2012, ordered by the united states marine corps. To allow troops to strike improvised explosive devices in placed positions and other similar targets for comparison. Prior to this, they would be forced to wait upwards of 30 minutes for air support to arrive to help with an implaced position or in the case of an id or wait even longer for a specialized mine sweeping team.

The switchblade was their little apache in their pocket, which was quite literal as it was small enough to fit into a marines atlas or mall packs, the harness with all the pockets and the backpack respectively, at an undisclosed date. In late 2012, 75 more switchblades were supplied to u.s soldiers in afghanistan, and it was confirmed that several successful employments had occurred in january 2013.. Unfortunately, with this being the u.s military details of the exact nature of these deployments have been classified and never want to share the details of their super top secret special forces operations. Despite that, we can be sure that the us military liked what they were seeing, because shortly after this confirmation in 2013, the u.s military disclosed that they would be ordering a not specified amount. What was specified was that this amount was dramatically more than the previous 75 systems that have been ordered. At this point, you might be wondering as to why we dont know more about this drone. We see videos of the bigger reaper strikes all the time. So why do we know a lot about one, but not much about the other, while the u.s air force has a policy to disclose the video from as many drone strikes as possible to counteract the idea that theyre just using killer robots in randomized decentralized violence? The switchblade does not come under this policy, however, as its not deemed to be a drone because of its small handheld nature, and also because its directly controlled by the soldier who launches it so its deemed a direct fire munition rather than a drone like the javelins, Which came before it, there is one clear advantage to the switchblade, which was recognized early on in afghanistan, though, in normal military deployments, an airstrike will rarely be called off.

The fuel and asset burns to get to a combat area is generally so great that theyre encouraged to find a target at all costs, but in comparison the cost of the switchblade is so low that the military is relatively fine with disposing of a drone. If it turns out that there isnt actually a valid target to further compound, this aerovaronment has equipped all switchblades with a self destruct mechanism, meaning that if a target is actually identified to be civilian or the urgent target changes, then the drone can easily be disposed of. Without causing needless civilian casualties on december 28, 2014 operation enduring freedom, the military name for the war in afghanistan came to an end. Four thousand switchblades had been deployed in afghanistan over two years. Its never been commented by the u.s military as to what effect the switchblade had. But we know from interviews given by us troops that the drones became a vital resource used by everyone, ranging from the frontline foot troops to the special forces operators. The switchblade truly became a mans best friend in april 2015, the united states marine corps test fired a switchblade drone out of the back of an mb 22 osprey helicopter, with the intent of the test being to see whether the switchblade would be a viable air to Air weapon specifically for combating hostile helicopters, it was expected that the drone would fail due to the high speed experienced at the moment of launch, which was actually not the case.

The switchblade not only successfully launched but managed to hit its target later in mid 2017. 350 switchblades were delivered to the united states, special operations command socom for use against the islamic state. Now, at this point, you might be wondering well, simon youve got into a mega projects. Video were many minutes on and you havent got into all of the technical details. Yet whats going on well got ta. Refer you back to the previous statement as to how much the us military likes, keeping its secrets. In october 2016 aeroveronment upgraded the original switchblades. We know little about the original design. For this very reason, after this 2015 upgrade switchblades were now referred to as switchblade 300s, which is also the name of the pre 2015 upgrades, but they never chose to differentiate between the two, in name in 2016, a multi pack launcher mpl was designed. This is an autonomous system which can carry multiple switchblades to a location and launch them remotely. The mpl can even be constructed in a smaller form and placed in a backpack. The final update to the switchblade 300 was given in 2020, air over ondman announced a joint project with kratos, defense and security solutions to design a new high speed. Long range unnamed combat air vehicle with the express purpose of carrying large numbers of switchblade 300s into a combat zone. However, we have yet to hear anything of this terminator esque nightmare weapon. Yet the final points of note on the development of the switchblade drone before we get to the technical details and modern usages came on the 31st of march 2021.

Air overrunment was awarded 26.1 million dollars by socom for the new and improved switchblade 600.. This model was designed specifically to meet the requirements posed by the united states naval. Special warfare commands maritime precision engagement requirements. This meant that, in short, it was now qualified to be placed upon and take out warships in this capacity. It met both combatant craft, medium and combatant craft heavy ratings, meaning that all manner of warships can both host the weapon system and be targets for it. Finally, on the 24th of february 2022, russia launched what it called a special military operation and what everyone else called an invasion of ukraine. As a result, the united states provided 100 tactical unmanned aerial systems, each carrying 10 switchblade 600s to the ukrainian government. There are two switchblades in service, the switchblade 300 and the switchblade 600.. However, the us military has never publicly confirmed much about the details of either drone and, as such, the details are a bit sketchy and we know very little about the distinction between the 300 and the later 600. as such. Take the details we cover here with a grain of salt as most gathered from an examination of online videos and the debris of the drones. The switchblade 300 is 2.5 kilograms about 50 centimeters long and 76 millimeters in diameter. For comparison, the 600 is nearly 25 kilograms. 130 centimeters long and 150 millimeters in diameter. The 300 has an operational range of 10 kilometers and the 640 kilometers, and even though we dont know the absolute flight ceiling of either, we can guess that they probably cant go above 150 meters due to their size.

On top of this, the maximum speed of the 300 is 160 kilometers an hour or 100 miles per hour, and the 600 is 185 kilometers per hour or 115 miles per hour for comparison generally. The fastest civilian drone on the market can only make 70 miles per hour. Both can either be launched by an individual or a specialized launch system. This specialized system can range from backpacks to mortars or trucks equipped with the system. The 300 can remain in flight for no more than 10 minutes, the 600 no more than 40.. We know not more about the 300 armament capacity, its guided by gps and a color camera to identify, track and engage a whole range of targets, but can also be pre programmed to locate and engage targets using its on board cpu. The explosive is generally considered to be equivalent to a 40 millimeter grenade, so its fairly unsuitable in taking out bigger or heavily armored vehicles, its equipped with an electric engine and so makes very little sound and provides next to no silhouette on most radars. Thanks to its size, making the 300 a silent killer perfect for the special forces roles that we mentioned at several points, the control system for the 300 is referred to through the uninventive name, the ground control system. This is effectively a rather bulky laptop importantly, this system for the 300 is the same as the rq 11 raven and the rq 20 puma, both scouting drones, also designed by air over onment.

This can enable a single operator to use the scouting drones to locate a target and then deploy a 300 to engage it. The modern 300 is referred to as a loitering munition by the us military, a categorization given to missiles, which means that the data and videos that the military stores of the strikes dont ever have to be revealed to the public when the 300 is. Instead. Given a pre programmed course and pre programmed target, it uses both daytime and infrared trackers to identify and engage the target. This enables them to lock onto both stationary and moving targets. This means that 300 could effectively carry out every stage of a military operation. It can be launched from an autonomous, mpl, independently target according to its parameters and independently make the decision to engage a target. The aforementioned munitions are designed for precision strikes, however, rather than being a generic 360 degree blast theyre, designed to instead give a forward firing. Shotgun blast effect. This is aimed to decrease civilian casualties and further specializes the 300 towards the more special forces type missions. The most recent and widely used innovation of the switchblade 300 is in an anti drone capacity. Its new software allows it to identify and track drones. Its also been equipped with radar jamming systems and the hope that these specialized 300s can be used to eliminate the threat posed by enemy drones. The variant of the 300 is also currently being developed to specifically counteract artillery munitions, though little is known about that right now.

Much less is known about the 600. We know that it has a much improved range duration and warhead. The warhead on the 600 is rated to take out all manners of craft ranging from heavily armored tanks to naval warships, but the effect of this of this was pretty questionable until ukraine. The final notable variant is the switchblade 300 blackwing, as mentioned. This is the unarmed variant, although that doesnt mean its civilian. Its generally speculated that its used for wider command and control operations – Music, nobody on the switchblade – would be complete without mentioning ukraine, as mentioned, the united states supplied a thousand switchblade 600s to ukraine in early march 2022.. Up until this point, it was unknown as to how effective they would be compared to their counterparts, and many have been watching. The situation could tell you that the 600 has proved to be far more effective than anybody expected its through the recent war in ukraine that the drones have achieved their now widely recognized name of kamikaze drones. The russian invasion has primarily so far been an armored offensive with both bella russian and russian armies, widely relying on armoured vehicles, which the 600 has proved deadly, effective against, reportedly being capable of slicing through the armor of modern russian tanks. Like a hot knife, the first was a striking car. Give a blast. Russians had captured a bunker position in the area and were using it as a command post. Video emerged early in the war of a switchblade striking the area.

It appears nobody was injured in the blast, but we know it was a switchblade, as the russian military was able to recover the drone. This is where we get our first piece of interesting information, despite the fact that the us admitted to supplying a thousand switchblades. This drone was actually a switchblade 300, implying that more kamikaze drones might be in use than otherwise thought. The second is a strike in the more general sense. We know from the numbers guessed by a mixture of ukrainian british and american intelligence that the russians probably had around 12 000 tanks in ukraine at the start of the war. We also know roughly how many theyve lost and when the announcement made by the u.s of providing the ukraine with switchblades was in march 2022, and since then, there has been a sharp increase in the rate of russian tanks and armored vehicles that have been destroyed. Weve also had reports that the switchblade 600 can cut through a tank, and this would imply that 600s are not only in use but having great effect Music. We have seen how one desperate act made by a failing military in 1944 has had a knock on effect. On modern military tactics, the kamikazes of world war ii were recognized as devastating to the morale of american servicemen and were seeing the same effects in the russian troops currently in ukraine, through a mixture of other drones supplied to ukraine were getting a glimpse at what a Modern conventional war looks like the future of warfare is for the machines, and the drones weve also seen how the switchblade can uniquely launch every stage of a mission without any human interaction required.

Not only can an autonomous system launch the drone, it can identify targets and choose which ones to engage. In truth, none of us know whats coming next, but if we were to guess its probably going to involve killer robots lets just hope they follow our orders. Music.