Russia's New 'Afalina' Maritime Drone Is RC 'Bat Boat' Toy

Russia's New 'Afalina' Maritime Drone Is RC 'Bat Boat' Toy

Flag Russia Russian media has revealed the 'Afalina' uncrewed surface vessel (USV) to rival the Ukrainian Sea Baby and Magura types. The Russian version, actually a sub-scale prototype, is shown (via Samuel Bendett, Twitter) being put through its paces on a calm lake.

Russia's New 'Afalina' Maritime Drone

The prototype actually bears a striking resemblance to a remote control model of one of Ocke Mannerfelt's famous ‘bat boat’. Swede Ocke Mannerfelt designed his iconic bat boats for racing. They are so-named because of its distinctive wings at the stern which resemble the classic batmobile. These aid stability on tight turns. Overall the designs have a reputation for seakeeping.

Ocke Mannerfelt Started his design team in the 1980s. Since then his offshore racing boats have captured 16 world championships. Although his boats are unquestionably well designed and world class innovation, the idea of adding wings like this didn’t really take off. So apart from Mannerfelt's designs they remain a rarity. Which is what makes this Russian design stand out.

Bat Boat during powerboat racing
Examples of legitimate Mannerfelt 'Bat Boats' racing. There is no suggestion that the new Russian USV is in any way connected to Mannerfelt.

According to Mash (Russian Media) the production 'Afalina' will be 3.5 meters long, making it noticeably smaller than the Ukrainian types. It is reported that it will reach 60 km/h (32 knots), and have a range of 500 km (270 NM). It will carry a 200 kg warhead.

The shore-based pilot will be able to 'fly' it in FPV mode using VR glasses and a joystick. There will also be an autopilot. We can speculate that flying it via goggles may be a challenge.

Russia's New 'Afalina' Maritime Drone
The alleged prototype. The control surfaces at the back are typical of remote controlled boats, and are unlikely to scale to the full-sized example.

The 'prototype' does appear to be a modified remote control toy boat. Even the cockpit has windows which are unnecessary in this application. Remote control models of the bat boat are available on EBay and other online market places.

Is it possible that someone is selling the Russian government a USV amounting to a scale model of a famous powerboat? For now caution is advised when considering this type, but stranger things have happened:

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