Special Report

The 23 American Military Drones, and How They’re Used

Earlier this Month, Russia sent a Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jet to intercept an American MQ-9 Reaper drone across the black sea before it penetrated Russian airspace over Crimea. The United States military currently uses 23 known types of drones, ranging from small hand-launched devices the size of a model airplane to those larger than many modern manned commercial aircraft.

Using a variety of resources on military technology 24/7 Wall St. listed all known unmanned aerial vehicles currently in use by the United States military. The drones are listed in alphabetical order. 

Of these 23 known vehicles, five are produced by giant military contractor Northrop Grumman, the company responsible for what is currently the most expensive vehicle in the American drone fleet: the $180 million, 131-foot-long MQ-4C Triton, a high-altitude, long-range surveillance aircraft commissioned into the U.S. Navy in 2018. The Triton is one of two drones that cost more than $100 million. 

Five relatively inexpensive unmanned aircraft on this list are built by a company likely unknown to most Americans: AeroVironment, which manufactures both small civilian and military UAVs. One AeroVironment drone is the $6,000 Switchblade 300, a 5.5 pound, 2-foot-long tube-launched loitering munition (this is a weapon system that waits passively around the area until the target is located). These aircraft, also called kamikaze drones, are being supplied by the Pentagon to Ukrainian forces and used against invading Russian forces. (This is how the U.S. is arming Ukraine.)

Five U.S. military drones cost between $10 million and $60 million, including the $20 million armed Predator reconnaissance drone manufactured by General Atomics, the San Diego-based private energy and defense company.

Several U.S. military drones cost less than $50,000, such as the Coyote, made by Waltham, Massachusetts-based defense contractor Raytheon. Like the low-cost drones produced by AeroVironment, the Coyote is an expendable tube-launched “kamikaze” drone, in this case designed to intercept and destroy small attack drones like one used by Yemen-based Houthi rebels against a Saudi Arabian oil processing facility in 2019.

Here is every drone used by the U.S. military.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.