Russian Aircraft Suspected Of Laying Mines Off Odesa, Ukraine

Russian Aircraft Suspected Of Laying Mines Off Odesa, Ukraine

Flag Russia Ukrainian media, Latifundist, reported that defense spokesperson Natalia Gumeniuk said that Russian aircraft dropped explosive devices in the shipping lane to/from Odesa on October 25-26. The objects are likely mines intended to effect a blockade on the port.

Russia uses Be-12 MAIL flying boats and the larger Il-38N MAY maritime patrol aircraft in the Black Sea Fleet. Il-38N MAYs, possibly operating out of Yesysk on the Sea of Azov, appear the most likely culprits. They can carry air-dropped mines in their bomb bays.

Russia Il-38 MAY
File image of a UDM exercise mine being loaded aboard an Il-38 MAY aircraft.

Russia Be-12 MAIL
Be-12 MAIL maritime patrol aircraft. Although a flying boat, these can no longer operate from water. They remain a serious concern for Ukraine however.

Gathering data on Russian mines can be something of a minefield. Sea mines are, for any country, not widely documented in the public sphere. With Russian series it is further complicated by variations in designations and patchy descriptions. However the mines most likely dropped from aircraft are the UDM-2 and UDM-3 bottom sitting influence mines. The older ADM-1 is also possible, think of that as a less capable predecessor to these.

UDM-2 Mine

The UDM-2 bottom mine, which entered service in 1978, is a large weapon designed to sink ships and submerged submarines. It is laid by aircraft or surface vessels and rests on the sea floor. When a vessel passes over top it explodes, generally sinking the victim.

It is designed to be laid by aircraft or surface vessels. They can be laid by aircraft flying at speeds of up to 1,000 km/h and from altitudes of at least 500 m. The mine is active for a year, and then self-destructs.

UDM-2 Mine Russia
UDM-2 air-dropped sea mine. Actually the MDM-2 Mod1 export version shown.

Specifications UDM-2
Diameter: 650mm
Length: 2.79m
Weight: 1,370 - 1,500kg (info varies)
Warhead: 800kg
Fuse: 3 channels
Operating depth: 12-125m
Planted mine active: 1 year +
Service life in storage: over 10 years

UDM-3 Mine

The UDM-3 is the smaller brother of the MDM-2. It is intended to be used in defensive minefields, to counter small displacement ships and landing craft. However it could be laid offensively and, while unlikely to sink a merchant ship, would be a major concern.

UDM-3 Mine Russia
Export version UDM-E, air-dropped sea mine

Specifications MDM-3 Mod.1 (export version of UDM-3, Russian service version essentially similar)
Diameter: 450mm
Length: 1.58m
Weight: 590kg
Warhead: 200kg (est)
Operating depth: 8-30m
Planted mine active: 1 year +
Service life in storage: over 10 years

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