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

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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
AeroVironment

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.

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