11:47 24 Jun 2024

Ukrainian naval drones executed successful remote mining on four Russian ships in 2023 — WSJ

Photo: Security Service of Ukraine

In 2023, Sea Baby sea drones of the Security Service of Ukraine hit four military vessels of the Russian Federation with underwater mines.

The Wall Street Journal's journalists spoke with Brigadier General of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Lukashevich (call sign Hunter).

After the first use of naval drones by Ukraine, the Russians built larger barriers at the entrance to the port in Sevastopol, making drone strikes almost impossible.

Therefore, the Security Service of Ukraine proposed an alternative solution: deploying plastic sea mines weighing approximately 180 kg.

They are difficult to detect because they sink into the mud under shallow water.

Photo: Security Service of Ukraine

According to the WSJ, the intelligence service spent a month and a half monitoring the routes of naval ships and civilian transport before sending the Sea Baby to plant two mines.

The missile corvette "Samum" exploded on a mine on September 14, causing a hole to blow through its stern. The ship is currently being repaired in dry dock.

During the following weeks, the drones traveled back and forth, covering almost 5,000 km and laying about 15 more mines.

Once three Raptor-class patrol boats detected the marine drone. Sea Baby then fired a grenade launcher, successfully hitting the enemy ship.

Later, on October 11, the large patrol boat "Pavel Derzhavin" broke its side while entering Sevastopol Bay. It was going to port for maintenance. Trawlers and divers combed the area for mines, apparently unsuccessfully.

The ship had to be redirected to a different port for repairs, but as it was leaving Sevastopol Bay, it encountered another mine. The sizable tug that was dispatched to assist it also struck a mine and had to be brought back to port.

A few days later, an explosion also damaged the "Vladimir Kozytskyi", a modern clear-bottom mine countermeasures ship, one of two in service in Russia.

According to the WSJ, remote demining carried out by Ukraine's Security Service drones is the first example of successful remote demining in the world.

Previously, maritime drones were mostly used for surveillance or logistics.

For reference:

During the full-scale war, Ukraine considerably ramped up its production of domestic drones. In particular, it began manufacturing marine drones and established a special fleet.

Not only were Sea Baby naval drones produced in Ukraine, but also Magura V5, which are actively used by fighters of Ukraine's intelligence.

According to Dekhtiarenko, spokesperson of Ukraine's Security Service, these drones have already hit 11 Russian ships:

On December 26, 2023, the Ukrainian Defense Forces attacked the large amphibious ship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation "Novocherkask" in the Feodosia region.

Also, on the night of February 1, Ukrainian scouts destroyed the missile boat "Ivanovets" of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. Its value is approximately 60-70 million dollars.

Also, with Sea Baby's help, Ukraine's Security Service damaged the Crimean Bridge, "which cannot be destroyed." And together with him, the self-confidence of the Russians was finally buried.

In addition to the Security Service, the Main Directorate of Intelligence also uses naval drones against the Russians. Ukraine's intelligence has its own drone – Magura.

As reported, the Russian military industry is trying to close the gap with Ukraine in developing surface maritime attack drones.

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