Ukraine has launched a new underwater drone project FURY (First Ukrainian Robotic Navy) to destroy the Russian Black Sea Fleet and ensure the security of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, Naval News reported.
Ukraine’s uncrewed maritime kamikaze drones that target Russian warships in the Black Sea are reshaping naval combat. Still, the advantage of such drones is eroding as Russia improves its defenses, according to Naval News.
“Without continued innovation on the Ukrainian side, Russia could regain its superiority in the Black Sea. Especially as the war looks set to go on for years. Although uncrewed surface vessels will still be relevant, and new developments may continue to strain Russian defenses, many are looking underwater for the answer,” US military analyst H.I. Sutton said.
In recent months, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have repeatedly successfully attacked the Russian Fleet in the Black Sea using uncrewed surface boats and long-range missiles. Now, the Ukrainian military takes measures to dominate the Black Sea with the help of a whole army of underwater drones.
Within the framework of the new drone project FURY, Ukraine will start mass production of armed underwater drones to push the Russian Black Sea Fleet out of occupied Crimea and the territorial waters of Ukraine.
Project FURY intends to partner with an unnamed Western drone manufacturer and weaponize an existing platform rather than create a new one from scratch, according to Naval News. Such an approach will reduce development risk and increase the capability of armed drones.
According to H.I. Sutton, underwater drones offer more versatility than unscrewed surface vessels and do not require as much technical effort as conventional submarines.
“Armed autonomous underwater vehicles have the obvious advantages of surprise, stealth and survivability. Although they are likely to be more expensive than the current uncrewed surface vessels, they will be reusable and thus cheaper in the long run. At the same time, they do not require the logistics and personnel footprint of regular submarines,” H.I. Sutton said. “Ukraine needs to stay two steps ahead. If Ukraine doesn’t, Russia could easily regain complete dominance in the Black Sea. They would be able to operate with impunity,” Sutton added.
New Ukrainian underwater drones will be able to carry a variety of weapons, such as mines, torpedoes, or even missiles. They could also be equipped with a wide range of sensors to perform reconnaissance missions.
Combined with standoff weapons, armed autonomous underwater vehicles can threaten the Russian Fleet throughout the entire Black Sea and carry out missions impossible with the current surface drones, according to Naval News.
Project FURY will be present at the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s ‘Offensive of Machines’ hackathon on 28 January 2024, Naval News reported.