What are loitering aerial munitions?

Amid the many concepts that have changed the skies over the battlefield, loitering munitions have played a significant role. Peter Felstead charts their history and assesses the latest developments in aerial warfare

The Switchblade 600 is one of multiple loitering munitions that has been provided to Ukraine as part of ongoing US military aid packages for the war against Russia

Backin the 1980s, a number of ‘suicide drones’ and missiles were developed for use in the suppression of enemy air defences (SEAD) role. This early incarnation of the modern-day loitering munitions (LM) was initially aimed at offering a persistent presence over the battlefield to target enemy air defences that were not constantly emitting from their radars. Now, as technology has evolved, LMs offer even more versatility.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Enjoy the following subscriber only benefits:

  • Unlimited access to all KeyAero content
  • Exclusive in-depth articles and analysis, videos, quizzes added daily
  • A fully searchable archive – boasting hundreds of thousands of pieces of quality aviation content
  • Access to read all our leading aviation magazines online - meaning you can enjoy the likes of FlyPast, Aeroplane Monthly, AirForces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, Aviation News, Airports of the World, PC Pilot and Airliner World - as soon as they leave the editor’s desk.
  • Access on any device- anywhere, anytime
  • Choose from our offers below