The Ukrainian military used sea drones against Russian ships

| December 1, 2022

The Russian Navy may enjoy an upper hand over Ukraine while at sea, firing on Ukrainian targets from the Black Sea. However, this advantage has not stopped the Ukrainian military from using field expedient methods to chip away at Russia’s maritime advantage. In late October, they deployed unmanned naval craft to Sevastopol, home base to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.

The Russians reported that they came under attack with nine air drones and seven sea drones. However, only one ship and a protective boom got hit. Analysts also state that another Russian warship got hit.

From The Telegraph as quoted in Ukraine Today:

It wasn’t the biggest bang of the war. But a sudden flash that briefly illuminated the Russian port of Novorossiysk on November 18 had a significance that went well beyond its blast radius.

The explosion is believed to have been caused by a Ukrainian uncrewed surface vehicle — maritime drones that are changing the balance of power in the Black Sea and could profoundly reshape the future of naval warfare.

Ukraine’s radio-controlled bomb boats’ first publicised action was in the early hours of October 29, when more than half a dozen of them attacked Russia’s Black Sea fleet at Sevastopol.

Footage from on-board cameras released by the Ukrainians showed black metal vessels charging at high speed across a choppy grey sea as machine gun and cannon rounds raised white plumes around them.

The Russian ministry of defence said nine aerial drones and seven marine drones involved scored only “insignificant damage” against one ship — the minesweeper Ivan Golubets — and the protective boom at Yuzhnaya Bay.

Independent analysts say the frigate Admiral Makarov also appears to have been badly damaged, although it does not seem to have sunk.

But it is not sinkings that are the mark of success. It is that they have seriously spooked the Russian navy.

“It’s going to go down in history,” said H. I. Sutton, an independent defence analyst.

“It is not the first time it has been tried. But it is the first time it has been successful and it has happened at scale. It is very much what we can expect going forward. It would almost be unrealistic in a future conflict to not involve these,” he said.

The success of the drones lies not in the relatively modest damage they have so far inflicted, so much as the projection of threat.

The October 29 raid mostly targeted shipping outside the narrow entrance of Sevastopol bay, but at least one or two boats appear to have got inside — penetrating what should have been impregnable counter measures at the entrance to Russia’s most strategically important harbour.

That alone is a major achievement. Sailing a drone boat into Novorossiysk, which was supposedly out of range of Ukrainian attacks, must be doubly alarming for the Russians.

“The Russians have completely changed their defensive posture in Sevastopol and Novorossiysk. They’ve increased the boom — the floating barriers across the harbour mouth and changed procedures to close them much more frequently. Every warship, even a powerful warship, that leaves Sevastopol is now escorted by fast craft,” said Mr Sutton.

Ukraine Today has more information on this link.

Category: International Affairs, Russia, Ukraine

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Good to know that the Global MIC has a chance to test all of the new toys developed over the last few years. Kinda hard to test sea going weapons in a land locked country like Affy. Wonder how they’ll work in the south seas?


I recall many years ago there was a program to train seals to
deliver such weapons. No, not Navy Seals…..
Nice to see a less cruel way to get the job done without hurting
those cute little animals. Still, the global warming crowd will
find a way to clear our seas of them in order to promote off
shore winds farms. Next, they will go after seagulls…


The Ukes scored major coup sinking Russia’s flagship Slava CG Moskva last spring. That they used a knock-off of the venerable AGM-84 Harpoon to do it made me grin.
Now they’ve upped the ante and joined the 21st century. While the new unmanned vehicles didn’t do a lot of damage, Russia now has to defend against them on top of whatever else they are trying to achieve.


One term that the Ukrainians use to describe the Russians? “Orcs/Orks.”

I think the Wagner Group mercs ought to be called Uruk-hai.


There have been numerous reports of Wagner Group personnel disappearing off the map forever and being left behind during troop withdrawals.


Next step will be Russia contracting with the Crime Syndicates in Ukraine to get the hits done on the cheap. Remember, you heard it here first.


I hope our Navy is paying attention.

jeff LPH 3 63-66

Dec 2022 US Naval Institute Proceedings magazine has an article on the the Oct 29th 2022 attack on the Russian ship by
seven USVs drones and nine UAVs.