Ukraine’s Security Service has developed a new generation of armed naval drones that can not only carry explosive payloads but also open fire on enemy targets, according to a report by the Ukrainian news outlet Ukrainska Pravda, citing anonymous sources.
With its unique naval drones, Ukraine, a country without a Navy, has revolutionized naval warfare itself and forced Russian warships to retreat from occupied Crimea. However, their new capability to initiate gunfire opens a new era in remote warfare.
The combat capabilities of the new drones have allegedly been increased several times over, with the explosive payload rising from 108kg to 850kg. The drones also reportedly utilize top-of-the-line communications systems costing over $300,000 each, and their hulls are made of radar-invisible materials.
“For example, the drones are already equipped with a flamethrower system that allows them to literally fight a naval battle,” the Ukrainska Pravda report states.
The outlet shared a video of supposedly the first naval battle between drones and coastal ships.
Ukraine's SeaBaby naval drones can now engage in sea battles, not only carry explosives
This video supposedly shows 1st battle btw a coastal ship & drone. As the 🇷🇺 ships moved to intercept, the 🇺🇦 drones opened fire instead of fleeinghttps://t.co/ipTU25vRy3
🎥 @pravda_eng pic.twitter.com/WUKXtTEesm
— Euromaidan Press (@EuromaidanPress) January 3, 2024
The video captures Ukrainian drones firing at Russian boats that emerged from one of the Crimean military ports to sink the drones. However, instead of fleeing, the drones turned around and returned fire.
The world knows these under the name of “SeaBaby.” However, little remains from the first generation of the drones, as Ukraine continuously improved the technology and started scaling them up.
“Successful drone attacks have proven that this is one of the most effective ways to counter the enemy at sea. We have begun to scale up the use of surface drones. Today, the SBU operates with the SeaBaby drones – these are newer and more advanced generations of naval drones. No private companies were involved in developing this system. It was done by a team of professional SBU agents, engineers, IT specialists, and naval officers,” said SBU Chairman Vasyl Maliuk, one of the initiators of Ukraine’s naval drone project.
He mentioned that the new generation of Sea Baby drones were used to strike the Crimean (Kerch) Bridge on 17 July 2023.
Earlier, Maliuk revealed that five remotely controlled drones from Kyiv were involved in the attack on the Kerch Bridge on 17 July 2023. Two of them reached the bridge and struck its supports. The other three ran out of fuel en route and had to be destroyed.
The same report by Ukrainska Pravda mentions that billionaire and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk had thwarted Ukraine’s first attack on occupied Crimea on 16-17 September 2022 by turning off Starlink satellite internet connectivity.
Naval drones were used to strike many Russian ships, including flagship Admiral Makarov and the large landing ship Olenegorskiy Gornyak, which was hit not even in occupied Crimea, but in the Russian port of Novorossiysk.
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