Drone Carrying Two Other Drones Spotted in Ukraine

JUMP 20 is a winged drone, which can take off and land vertically. Image credit: Aerovironmentinc

By Povilas M.,
Published by Technology.org, 1 July 2023

Drones are extensively used by both sides in the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war. In fact, it seems like this armed conflict became proving grounds for some advanced military drones and drone tactics, as well as new electronic technologies. Now, Russian soldiers have spotted an interesting Ukrainian drone, armed with two other drones. What is it?

Russian soldiers spotted an American-made Jump 20 drone armed with Switchblade 300 drones over Ukraine. The Switchblade 300 is loitering munition, but it is rather small and has limited range. Attaching the Switchblade 300 under another drone can significantly expand the potential attack.

According to the Russian media, operators of the Russian military’s air defence system Tor have spotted a drone, which they identified as an AeroVironment Jump 20. It is a winged UAV, which, thanks to its hybrid design, can take off and land vertically.

JUMP 20. Image credit: AeroVironment

The modular design allows this drone to carry various loads up to 13.6 kg. A pair of Switchblade 300 kamikaze UAVs weighs only about 5 kg. This means that the Jump 20 is not overloaded with this cargo and can still reach its normal flight characteristics. 

Originally, the Jump 20 was developed for reconnaissance and artillery adjustment missions, but in 2022 the manufacturer AeroVironment demonstrated that it can also be used to launch the Switchblade 300. Russians now claim to have noticed exactly such a tandem.

The Switchblade 300 is a loitering munition that travels up to 10 km. It is excellent at destroying unarmored vehicles and soldiers, but they can also carry out reconnaissance missions. Of course, the Jump 20 in this case greatly expands the range of the Switchblade 300, as it can fly more than 100 km.

Jump 20 Specifications:

  • Length – 2.9 m;
  • Wingspan – 5.7 m;
  • Weight – 97.5 kg;
  • Range – 185 km;
  • Flight duration-  14 hours

The Switchblade 300 is usually launched from, so to speak, a catapult tube. This UAV is quite light, but the Ukrainian soldiers need to be quite close to the enemy’s positions to take advantage of it. The Switchblade 300 flies for 20-40 minutes before diving towards the target.

The Jump 20 greatly expands the capabilities of these loitering munitions. It would be interesting to know if the Jump 20 also works as a signal repeater, because it can easily take the Switchblade 300 out of the normal piloting range.

In May, it was announced that AeroVironment had decided to provide Ukraine with Jump 20 flying machines. And they, it seems, are already helping to destroy the occupiers. The Armed Forces of Ukraine have not shown the use of these drones and haven’t said how effective they are.

JUMP 20. Image credit: AeroVironment

See: Original Article