TechUkrainian marine drones sink Russian navy's newest vessel near Kerch Strait

Ukrainian marine drones sink Russian navy's newest vessel near Kerch Strait

"Siergiej Kotow" during the Mangura V5 drone strike.
"Siergiej Kotow" during the Mangura V5 drone strike.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter) | 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔇𝔢𝔞𝔡 𝔇𝔦𝔰𝔱𝔯𝔦𝔠𝔱
12:22 PM EST, March 5, 2024

The Russian navy suffered a significant setback by losing one of its four Project 22160 "Vasily Bykov" ships, the "Sergey Kotov," which Mangura V5 marine drones sunk. This article delves into the capabilities of these drones and the details surrounding the sinking of the "Sergey Kotov".

In the early hours of March 4-5, 2023, 13 Ukrainian intelligence personnel mounted a successful operation against "Sergey Kotov," a modern Russian patrol ship belonging to Project 22160, "Vasily Bykov" class. The assault took place near the Kerch Strait. It utilized Mangura V5 drones, leading to the sinking of the Russian vessel, valued at 65 million dollars, which had been inducted into service on May 16, 2022, mirroring the fate of the missile cruiser "Moskva."

The "Sergey Kotov": A modern yet short-lived Russian vessel

The "Sergey Kotov" was the newest addition to the Project 22160 "Vasily Bykov" class, with its service commencing in 2018. These ships, which Russia has used to attempt to restrict access to Ukrainian ports, among other purposes, boast a displacement of about 2150 tons, a length of over 295 feet, and are equipped with an array of armaments. Their arsenal includes a 76.2 mm AK-176MA-01 cannon, a 9K38 Igla anti-aircraft missile launcher, two machine guns, a grenade launcher, and there have been suggestions of their capability to carry Kalibr-NK vertical launch cruise missiles. Additionally, their helicopter decks are reported to accommodate Tor-M2KM air defense systems.

The sophisticated armament of the "Sergey Kotov" was seemingly unable to compensate for its lack of situational awareness, which allowed the Ukrainian-operated Mangura V5 marine drones to approach undetected.

The Mangura V5 drones: A formidable challenge to Russian naval forces

With virtually no naval assets, Ukraine had to innovate to challenge Russian maritime dominance. This led to adopting marine drones such as the Mangura V5, which have previously targeted vessels like the Project 775 landing ship "Olenegorskiy Miner."

Developed from the "Sea Baby" drone design, Mangura V5 drones feature a motorboat chassis 18 feet long and 4.9 feet wide, powered by a water jet engine capable of reaching up to 42 knots. According to SpetsTechnoExport, these drones are equipped with approximately a 660-pound warhead, presumed to be based on FAB bombs, and carry enough fuel to achieve a range of just over 497 miles.

These drones also incorporate an encrypted communication system, satellite navigation, a Starlink terminal, and an observation head equipped with daytime and thermal vision cameras on a mast. They are controlled using AR goggles for an FPV drone-like experience, giving operatives a first-person view of the operation.

Related content