Switchblade, Kamikaze drones…they’re V1 Buzz Bombs, folks!

Recently photos surfaced on social media of a roughly four-foot-wide tan, airplane-shaped drone that had fallen out of the sky in the Kyiv region, crashing into the sandy ground.

While that one failed to explode on impact, the images verified by The Washington Post provide some of the first evidence Russia is using a new and terrifying weapon in its war against Ukraine: a killer drone that can dive bomb into targets, destroying them with little notice.

The Russian kamikaze drones, also known as loitering munitions, will soon be joined on the battlefield by ones sent to Ukrainian forces by the United States, making the war the largest direct conflict between two countries in which they’ve been deployed on both sides. Researchers who specialize in the field say it shows that these drones are becoming the norm in modern warfare, and are likely to make the conflict more deadly and unpredictable.

The American version is called Switchblade. Essentially, a 21st Century version of the V1.


Bradley Bowman, a senior director at the hawkish think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said loitering munitions reduce the time it takes to identify, locate and kill a target, and they are hard for an enemy to detect, giving off little heat signature.

“In urban combat,” he said, “where the distances are short and you’re up close and personal with your adversary, closing that kill chain more quickly can be the difference between life and death.”

Please, guys. I know you’re writing these press releases for the ignorant. Press as well as civilian readers. It still makes sense to provide real info about the history of weaponry so folks who are interested get the story straight.

7 thoughts on “Switchblade, Kamikaze drones…they’re V1 Buzz Bombs, folks!

  1. Pedant says:

    V-1 guidance system https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-1_flying_bomb#Guidance_system
    See also “How to knock a V1 off course” https://qph.cf2.quoracdn.net/main-qimg-360311e65ebc748e66bff3ade2d80de4-lq and the remotely controlled anti-ship missiles used against allied shipping in 1943 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_German_guided_weapons_of_World_War_II#Anti-ship_missiles

    “Switchblades (300 & 600) contain cameras, and video from these sensors, as well as GPS information and image processing, is used to guide the Switchblade. The Switchblade is also designed to receive targeting information from other drones, allowing it to follow and find selected targets. That makes it one weapon among many that can be directed against a target with the targeting information provided by other drones.” https://taskandpurpose.com/analysis/switchblade-attack-drone-ukraine/

    “Loitering munitions preview the autonomous future of warfare” https://www.brookings.edu/techstream/loitering-munitions-preview-the-autonomous-future-of-warfare/

  2. Heroiam slava! says:

    “One week into its invasion of Ukraine, Russia massed a 40-mile mechanized column in order to mount an overwhelming attack on Kyiv from the north.
    But the convoy of armored vehicles and supply trucks ground to a halt within days, and the offensive failed, in significant part because of a series of night ambushes carried out by a team of 30 Ukrainian special forces and drone operators on quad bikes, according to a Ukrainian commander.
    The drone operators were drawn from an air reconnaissance unit, Aerorozvidka, which began eight years ago as a group of volunteer IT specialists and hobbyists designing their own machines and has evolved into an essential element in Ukraine’s successful David-and-Goliath resistance.
    …The Russians can latch on to the drone’s electronic signature and quickly strike with mortars, so the Aerorozvidka teams have to launch and run.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/28/the-drone-operators-who-halted-the-russian-armoured-vehicles-heading-for-kyiv

  3. Hubertus Bigend says:

    “The Turkish Drone That Changed the Nature of Warfare : The Bayraktar TB2 has brought precision air-strike capabilities to Ukraine and other countries. It’s also a diplomatic tool, enabling Turkey’s rise.” (The New Yorker May 16 2022 issue) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/16/the-turkish-drone-that-changed-the-nature-of-warfare
    “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” William Gibson (The Economist, December 4, 2003)

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