TechUkrainian naval drones are now capable of striking the Russian coast

Ukrainian naval drones are now capable of striking the Russian coast

Testing of the Ukrainian marine drone in the rocket artillery version.
Testing of the Ukrainian marine drone in the rocket artillery version.
Images source: © X (dawniej Twitter) | Ukrainian Front

6:49 AM EDT, May 23, 2024

Ukrainian naval drones are evolving, which have become a nightmare for Russian sailors. Recently, an anti-aircraft variant designed to counter helicopters emerged, and now there is an artillery platform meant for attacking land-based targets. Here’s what the Ukrainians have come up with.

Naval drones like the Magura V5 were initially used to attack ships of the Black Sea Fleet, such as the landing ship Project 775 "Oleniegorski Górnik," the tanker SIG, and patrol ships "Vasily Bykov." In response, the Russians began patrolling the area with helicopters, which the Ukrainians countered by mounting anti-aircraft missiles on the drones.

Now, images have appeared showing drones equipped with six launch tubes for 4.8-inch non-guided rockets and footage of such a drone attacking Russian positions. This configuration theoretically allows for attacking targets 12 or 25 miles away, depending on the rockets used.

Naval drones as artillery attacking the Russian coast

The concept is intriguing since the latest BM-21 Grad system rockets from places like Poland or Serbia enable attacks on targets up to 25 miles from the shoreline. Such shelling will undoubtedly cause greater chaos and destruction than a flying drone with just a few pounds of explosive payload.

For instance, a single Polish rocket M-21 "FENIKS" with a high-explosive fragmentation warhead weighing 40 pounds generates up to 6,000 fragments with a lethal range of several dozen yards. It's worth noting that a naval drone carries six such rockets.

This only raises interest in how the Ukrainians have solved the dispersion issue, as a light naval platform is not very stable, significantly worsening the accuracy of such a salvo compared to the BM-21 Grad launcher. Footage taken by the Russians shows that the dispersion of the rockets launched by the Ukrainian drone is not tiny.

Magura V5 drones - a well-known base

The Magura V5 naval drones resemble a motorboat in structure. They are 18 feet long and 5 feet wide and powered by a jet drive that enables them to reach speeds of up to 48 mph.

These drones were typically equipped with a warhead weighing about 660 pounds, although larger versions existed. They had a range of up to 500 miles. The range of the rocket version is assumed to be greater, as there is more room for additional fuel tanks.

Control using AR goggles, similar to FPV drones, provides a first-person perspective. The connection between the command center and the drone is maintained through encrypted communication provided by the Starlink terminal.

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