TechRussian navy struggles against Ukrainian night drone attacks

Russian navy struggles against Ukrainian night drone attacks

Exercises of the Russian Black Sea Fleet - stock photo
Exercises of the Russian Black Sea Fleet - stock photo
Images source: © East News | HANDOUT

1:49 PM EDT, May 18, 2024

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation are struggling to defend themselves against night attacks by surface drones operated by Ukrainians, reports the portal Bulgarian Military. Moscow is actively searching for solutions to improve its defense against unmanned marine attacks, while Ukraine continues to upgrade its drone designs.

The Russian Black Sea Fleet has been facing increasingly severe challenges for months. This is primarily due to regular attacks by Ukraine's armed forces, which effectively eliminate successive Russian ships.

However, this is not the only reason the Russian Federation's navy encounters escalating problems. Constructing or repairing damaged ships typically takes much longer than similar work on land equipment. Consequently, every destroyed or damaged vessel in the Black Sea Fleet is impossible to replace quickly.

It is also noteworthy that the Russians themselves admit they do not know how to defend against the threat posed by Ukrainian surface drones, according to the Bulgarian Military. The defensive forces often conduct attacks at night when the readiness of Russian crews is significantly lower than during the day. As a result, successive Russian ships are being sunk.

The tactic Ukrainians use that the Russians can't defend against

The Russians need additional tools to help their army strengthen the protection of the Black Sea Fleet. Therefore, the authorities have commissioned the Russian company Laboratory PPSH to produce, among other things, thermal imaging systems mounted on heavy machine guns, according to Denis Oslomenko, the company's general director. These thermal imaging systems are intended to help the navy observe the waters under challenging conditions, specifically at night when Ukrainian marine drones typically attack.

Oslomenko emphasizes that the Russians struggle to defend against drones due to the "problem of lacking thermal imaging equipment among soldiers." He notes, however, that equipping the army with thermal sights and targeting systems, which the Russian authorities are seeking, will not completely solve the challenge posed by Ukrainian activity in the Black Sea. "These systems will not completely stop Ukrainian drones, but they will significantly reduce their effectiveness," he says.

The thermal sights developed by Laboratory PPSH are intended to enhance the capabilities of the Russian Federation's army by extending the detection range of targets. This range is expected to be over 0.6 miles. Additionally, all soldiers on Russian ships should be equipped with thermal binoculars to report approaching drones. Currently, the Russians are not adequately handling this problem and are unable to fend off attacks by Ukrainians.

Russians practice shooting at Ukrainian marine drones
Russians practice shooting at Ukrainian marine drones© Bulgarian Military

Meanwhile, the Ukrainians primarily use Magura V5 drones for military actions against Russia. These popular marine drones are over 16 feet long and about 5 feet wide, allowing them to carry a heavy explosive load. Additionally, to make them harder to shoot down, they can accelerate to up to 50 mph speeds. The Ukrainians regularly upgrade these drones, mounting, among other things, R-73 missiles on them.

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