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Ukrainian Navy Day: how naval drones changed the war and became Ukrainian know-how

by alex

День ВМС ВСУ: как морские дроны изменили войну и стали украинским ноу-хау

On Sunday, July 7, the Day of the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine is celebrated. This is a professional holiday for military personnel and Navy personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who daily bring the victory of Ukraine closer.

One of the most important developments of specialists together with the Ukrainian Navy are naval drones, which have radically changed the conduct of combat operations.

How did naval drones influence the war at sea and is there a future for them — read further in the ICTV Facts material.

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What are sea drones

Marine Drones — These are mobile devices that can operate using remote control. They are able to analyze the environment using sensors and even navigate independently.

Unmanned vessels, also called unmanned boats or maritime drones, have had a wide range of applications for many years. They were used for scientific research, search and rescue operations, surveillance and coastal patrol.

They are equipped with modern GPS and cameras, which allows marine drones to record everything that happens around them on the water.

One of them — naval drone Magura V5, which Ukraine used in the Black Sea to attack Russian targets.

День ВМС ВСУ: как морские дроны изменили войну и стали украинским ноу-хау

Magura has a length of 5.5 m, a range of up to 800 km, 60 hours of battery life and can carry several hundred kg of explosives. It transmits real-time video to operators who fly the marine drone remotely.

Another drone, larger than Magura, called Sea Baby is capable of carrying 850 kg of explosives. The drone reaches a maximum speed of 90 km/h and can cover a distance of 1 thousand km.

How naval drones affected the war

Ukrainian naval drones have revolutionized naval warfare over the past few years, relentlessly pursuing Russian ships on the high seas and even at naval bases.

Unmanned boats are used to destroy Russian targets in the Black Sea. Using maritime drones, Ukraine sent a number of Russian ships to the bottom and damaged them.

Among them — the Project 22800 Cyclone missile ship, the carrier of the cruise Caliber Sergei Kotov, the large landing ship Novocherkassk and others that were in service with the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy. This helped Kyiv restore part of its grain exports, which were blocked by the Russian Federation.

День ВМС ВСУ: как морские дроны изменили войну и стали украинским ноу-хау

A total of a third of the Russian fleet's ships have already been disabled. They have been destroyed or damaged, some of them — have already been repaired, Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmitry Pletenchuk told journalists in mid-June.

It was the naval drones that made Russia's Black Sea Fleet particularly vulnerable. Under relentless attacks, Moscow was forced to withdraw the core of its fleet from Crimea and transfer it to Novorossiysk. But even there, Russian ships remain within range of Ukrainian drones.

Warfare at sea

The spokesman for the Ukrainian Navy Dmytro Pletenchuk told ICTV Fakty that naval drones have indeed changed the course of the war, but there is no need to expect that they can become a magical way to solve all the existing problems in the Azov-Black Sea region that are associated with the presence of the enemy.

— Also, with drones we will not be able to solve many current issues related to ensuring the safety of civil navigation, control of water areas and straits. One way or another, drones, of course, changed the course of this war. And they greatly influenced the balance of power. You see that in fact the enemy is now forced to hide at one of his military bases in the Black Sea — this is Novorossiysk, — stated Dmitry Pletenchuk.

Therefore, Russian ships stay away from the Ukrainian coast and limit the time they spend on the high seas. Launches of Caliber cruise missiles from ships in the Black Sea — is now a rarer occurrence than it used to be.

At the same time, Dmitry Pletenchuk emphasized that “war is a search for solutions”, and “technology is a search for new ideas”.

— Our problem is that every time we have to find new ways to use existing weapons systems, in particular, drones. They solved these problems at one of the first stages of liberating our waters from the presence of Russian warships. This problem was solved, for example, by the coastal missile and artillery troops of the Navy, — he explained.

According to the spokesman of the Ukrainian Navy, the impact of drones on the situation in the sea area is serious, however “this method will not allow us to completely solve all the problems”.

Ukraine is now, in principle, a world leader in the use of unmanned and unmanned marine systems, as well as their combat use — this is a fact, Dmitry Pletenchuk emphasized.

The Future — is in Unmanned Systems

— Of course, we look to the future, and there we see most of the combat systems — unmanned. These are drones that are in the air, in particular, the Navy uses, for example, the same Bayraktar.

But full-fledged and full-size ships that will perform a wider range of tasks assigned to the Naval Forces of any country — it is a long shot to allow production and operation of completely unmanned, — noted the speaker of the Navy.

День ВМС ВСУ: как морские дроны изменили войну и стали украинским ноу-хау

Photo: Dmitry Pletenchuk

Dmitry Pletenchuk noted that there is a large list of tasks that ships must perform. In particular, patrolling, mine clearance, air defense and anti-sabotage work, which cannot be left solely to drones.

— We will not be able to translate all these functions exclusively to drones, at least based on their size, because some equipment is still large. For example, anti-ship missiles, which cannot be carried on a drone. This is a demining team with the appropriate equipment, which is quite large physically. Our future — this is a full-fledged development of the Naval Forces in a classic form, — emphasized the speaker of the Ukrainian Navy.

The experience of Ukraine, of course, is considered by all countries that have any maritime interests in the world's oceans, Dmitry Pletenchuk noted.

We are talking about both states that are allies of Ukraine “and countries that are not allies”.

— The experience of application, planning of operations, and their implementation is being studied by many countries in the same way as technological solutions. I can say that there is interest, — noted Pletenchuk.

Naval drone potential

Manless remote-controlled vessels have been around since the end of World War II. But at the end of the last century, technological innovations expanded their potential use.

The deadly advanced naval drones developed and used by Ukraine during the war with Russia have opened a new chapter in this story, AP News journalists note.

Ukraine became the first country to create a separate division dedicated to the production of maritime drones.

День ВМС ВСУ: как морские дроны изменили войну и стали украинским ноу-хау

Ukrainian maritime drones. Photo: United24

— Ukraine has become a producer of new military technologies, and naval drones should become an integral part of the combat toolkit in the war of the 21st century. Behind the development of a new generation of maritime drones, Ukrainian drones — it's know-how and ingenuity, — says the material.

Marine Drones — not cheap. For example, one Magura costs about $250 thousand, and the new Sea Baby — approximately $221 thousand. But they can damage or sink a ship worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

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