TechUkrainian underwater drones may dominate Black Sea, challenging Russian fleet

Ukrainian underwater drones may dominate Black Sea, challenging Russian fleet

Drone Sea Baby - preview picture
Drone Sea Baby - preview picture
Images source: © Youtube

9:27 AM EST, January 25, 2024

Naval News states, "naval warfare in the Black Sea is experiencing its first involvement of unmanned platforms in history." The Ukrainians rapidly incorporated necessary advancements into this category of drones, and "Until recently, they seemed to have a step ahead over the Russian navy, but their advantage is now at risk." The Russians are learning from their mistakes and developing improved strategies to counter attacks by Ukrainian maritime drones.

Could Underwater Drones Pose a Challenge to the Russians?

Commander of the Ukrainian Navy, Oleksiy Nejizhpapa, pointed this out as early as January. In one interview, he emphasized: "Some of the stratagems and tactics we developed during 2022 and 2023 will no longer be viable in 2024. Therefore, we must modify our tactics and technical parameters across all operations." The FURY project is meant to be the response to these impending changes.

It is worth mentioning that Ukraine isn't attempting to build an entirely new Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) under this program, but rather enhancing existing solutions. Naval News points out that they would potentially be capable of performing a variety of tasks. By adding suitable sensors, these drones could be turned into underwater devices for reconnaissance missions or, once armed with torpedoes or explosives, they could serve as unmanned combat mission vessels.

Ukraine is Augmenting Their Fleet of Maritime Drones

In September 2023, Ukraine became the first country globally to establish a specialized military unit that employs armed maritime drones for strike missions. There's limited information about the precise nature of the 385th Independent Brigade and the devices it uses. However, it is pretty likely that they use solutions such as the multi-tasking surface vessel Magura V5 or the drone "Sea Baby." These are surface devices that have repeatedly frustrated Russian strategies.

As previously reported, the Magura V5, one of the drones mentioned, can perform various tasks, including observation, surveillance, rescue, and combat operations. It is equipped with a hydrodynamic V5 hull, enhancing the drone's maneuverability and reducing its detectability. Available information suggests that the Magura V5 is 18 feet long and 5 feet wide and can reach a maximum speed of 42 knots. This drone has an estimated range of about 518 miles and a payload capacity of approximately 705 pounds.

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