A US Marine launches a Switchblade drone during an exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, September 2, 2020.
US Marine Corps/Cpl. Jennessa Davey
Fighting in Ukraine and other recent conflicts have demonstrated the utility of loitering munitions.
The US Marine Corps is pursuing those munitions in an effort to make its units lighter and more capable.
The Corps is also looking for ways to defend its units from those munitions.
“Kamikaze” drones like the ones being used in Ukraine offer troops on the ground major advantages, US Marine Corps leaders say, but the Corps is still figuring out how to defend Marines from these weapons.
The ability of these drones, known as loitering munitions, to linger over the battlefield gives Marines more flexibility, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger told an audience at the Modern Day Marine expo in Washington, DC.
Traditional mortars and artillery systems are limited to ballistic trajectories — “it fires, it descends, all predictable, all on a pre-positioned target,” Berger said.
The advantage of a weapon that can be deployed “all the way down to the squad level,” be launched by Marines from a mortar tube or from another vehicle, and then “loiter for 40, 45 minutes” before being directed to a target or finding the target itself “is huge,” Berger said.
Those munitions can be launched before a target’s “precise location” is known and the loiter time “gives you so much flexibility to engage either targets that are concealed or targets that are moving,” Berger said.
A US Marine prepares a Switchblade drone for launch during an exercise at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, July 7, 2021.
US Marine Corps/Pfc. Sarah Pysher
Loitering munitions are a high-profile part of US military aid to Ukraine. As of May 10, the US had provided nearly 1,000 of them: 700 Switchblade drones …read more
Source:: Business Insider