Ukraine has created marine drones to deliver mines
The Ukrainian military-industrial complex has made significant advancements in naval weaponry, particularly in the development of various versions of naval drones based on the well-established Magura V5 model
Defense Express analyzed Ukraine’s naval capabilities.
Initially recognized for its “kamikaze” boat variant, the Magura V5 model now includes a remote mine placement drone and a reconnaissance-focused patrol platform.
In the past year, Ukrainian naval drone operators executed numerous operations employing these advanced weapons.
“The latest successful sea drone strike for the defense intelligence agency was Nov. 10, when a swarm struck two Russian landing ships moored in a Crimean bay, sinking both,” the New York Times reported.
According to the New York Times, these operations successfully pushed the Russian fleet over 200 nautical miles away from Ukrainian shores.
“In the year since they set sail in the Black Sea, the drones have damaged and sunk dozens of Russian ships, according to the Ukrainian Navy, and played a role, alongside Western-provided missiles, in forcing Russia to relocate vessels from Sevastopol harbor, the home port of one of Moscow’s four naval fleets. The drones helped clear a shipping channel for the export of grain, a critical commodity for Ukraine’s economy,” the article stated.
The specific appearance of the marine drone designed for remote mine placement remains undisclosed, as the NYT article only features images of the basic Magura V5 variant. Nonetheless, Defense Express assumes that the Ukrainian Defense Forces possess remotely operated boats capable of laying mines at sea, a capability first announced by Ukrainian sources.
In a noteworthy turn of events, the Russian Ministry of Defense's publication Marine Collection (Morskoi Sbornik) reported in early December 2023 that Black Sea Fleet minesweepers engaged in combat trawling for mines on the outer roadstead of Sevastopol Bay in the temporarily occupied Crimea. Considering Ukraine's lack of conventional means to lay sea mines at such a distance from its bases, unconventional methods, such as the deployment of marine drones, are suggested as a plausible explanation.
The timing of Russia’s withdrawal of ships from the temporarily occupied Sevastopol in early October aligns with the emergence of these advanced capabilities. Notably, the majority of Kalibr carriers were relocated to Novorossiysk around the same time. The possibility of remote mine placement by Ukrainian forces might have influenced the decision of Russian forces to withdraw more valuable ships from Sevastopol.
Military experts emphasize that Ukraine's true strength lies in its willingness to actively test and deploy innovative systems. This approach positions Ukraine as actively shaping the future landscape of military technology.
“Nobody has the experience using sea drones as we do,” said Thirteen, a Ukrainian drone pilot, in the interview for the New York Times. “There are no instructors, no textbooks. We are writing these books now.”