The Ministry of National Defence Republic of Lithuania began the procedure for acquisition of 35 UAV systems, 26 “mini” and 9 “small” type. The purpose of reconnaissance requires the UAVs to weigh below 150 kg (Class I) and meet the requirements of “mini” and “small” types of systems. Such aircraft detect and identify, track targets, allow to assess the impact of actions, monitoring of artillery fire and artillery fire adjustment and correction. The “mini” type weighs up to 20 kg with an effective range of up to 25 km and altitude of up to 1000 meters. The “small” type weighs above 20 kg with an effective range of up to 50 km and altitude of up to 1500 meters.
“Acquisition of these systems will significantly improve the Lithuanian military intelligence capabilities. The Lithuanian Armed Forces currently doesn’t have any tactical unmanned aircraft suitable for reconnaissance,” says Minister of National Defence Arvydas Anušauskas.
The cost of concurrent acquisition of both, “mini” and “small” types of UAVs, may amount to approx. 36 million o Euros, based on a carried out market analysis. The Ministry of National Defence and the Lithuanian Armed Forces attaches great importance to acquisition and integration of new reconnaissance and warfare instruments aiming to improve combat capabilities of the Lithuanian Armed Forces. Another planned combat drone acquisition currently underway is carried out with the U.S. Government to procure Switchblade UAVs. The Lithuanian defence ministry said the purchases were triggered by the war in Ukraine and will include Switchblade and other drones.
The AeroVironment Switchblade is a miniature loitering munition, designed by AeroVironment and used by several branches of the United States military. Small enough to fit in a backpack, the Switchblade launches from a tube, flies to the target area, and crashes into its target while detonating its explosive warhead. The name switchblade comes from the way the spring-loaded wings are folded up inside a tube and flip out once released.