By David Crane
david (at) defensereview (dot) com
April 30, 2022
Image(s) Credit(s): AeroVironment (AV)
An interesting company called Aevex Aerospace out of Solana Beach, California is making a very interesting “secretive suicide/kamikaze drone” aircraft, or armed/weaponized UAS/UAV called the “Phoenix Ghost“, and they’ve reportedly started shipping them to Ukraine to help battle the Russians. Specifically, they’re sending 121 Phoenix Ghost drones, where they’re “expected to get heavy use in the eastern part of the country” (Ukraine) according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Basically, the Phoenix Ghost kamikaze drones will loiter in the sky looking for Russian targets, and then dive and and destroy them with their explosive warheads once said targets are located. Easy-peasy. Apparently, the size, shape, payloads and capabilities of the Phoenix Ghost haven’t yet been disclosed, thus the “secretive” moniker. That said, the Phoenix Ghost’s purpose and combat application are similar to the quiet, lightweight and all-electric Switchblade 300 Tactical Missile System attack drone/UAS/UAV, manufactured by AeroVironment (AV). The Switchblade 300 weighs approximately 5.5 lbs, is backpackable, and can be launched quickly. There’s also a much larger and heavier Switchblade 600 Tactical Missile System that’s being used to destroy Russian tanks and armored vehicles in Ukraine.
“This unmanned aerial system is designed for tactical operations. In other words, largely, but not exclusively, to attack targets … It can also be used to give you a site picture of what it is seeing, of course. But it’s principal focus is attack …”Its purpose is akin to that of the Switchblade, which we have been talking about in the past, which is basically a one-way drone and attack drone. And that’s essentially what this is designed to do,” said John Kirby, chief spokesman for the Pentagon.
It should be noted that about 1,000 Switchblades (300 and 600) have already been shipped to Ukraine, and the Ukrainians are also making good use of the the even larger Turkish Baykar Bayraktar TB2 attack drone.
Editor’s Note: Since the Phoenix Ghost appears to be a classified aircraft at present, DefenseReview (DR) doesn’t yet have photos of it. So, we’re showing photos of the AV Switchblade 300 instead. If/when we obtain photos of the Phoenix Ghost, we’ll do a follow-up piece and/or replace the images in this article.
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