The Army urgently orders American Switchblade 300 vagrant ammunition: Whose fault is it?

On the occasion of the Eurosatory exhibition which took place last week at La Villette, the Army, through the intermediary of its head of the Pan Office, Colonel Arnaud Goujon, had raised the possibility the order of American vagabond Switchblade 300 ammunition to the American AeroVironment, since confirmed by the Ministry, with the aim of filling an urgent captain's deficit. This procedure is not exceptional, especially since the Switchblade 300 is not particularly advanced equipment, nor particularly expensive. It will allow infantry or dismounted units of the Army to acquire a precision indirect fire capability, complementing the existing direct-fire ammunition endowment such as the M4 rocket, the Eryx missile, and the new MMP. From an operational point of view, this is therefore unquestionably good news. However, from the point of view of planning and anticipating needs, this is a huge failure, as the need was predictable and planned, and the French defense industrial base has the capacity to meet to such a need on short notice, if not the will to do so.

First, vagrant ammunition technology is anything but recent. The first prototypes of these drones equipped with a warhead exploding on contact or near the target, appeared in the 90s, particularly in Israel after the operational success of the use of drones against anti-aircraft defense in Lebanon in 1982. The models currently in service, such as the Harop and the Switchblade, were developed in the 2000s, and entered service at the junction between the 2000s and 2010s, almost 15 years ago in of that. The Israeli armies thus used their stray ammunition in Palestine, Syria and Lebanon from the beginning of the 2010s, and the US special forces implemented the first Switchblades in 2012 in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, the technology is old and sufficiently distributed to allow civilian operators to “tinker” with vagrant ammunition based on commercial drone models, as was the case in Syria in 2014, then in Libya.

The Harop was one of the wandering ammunition that demonstrated its effectiveness during the Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020

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