Evolution of Ukraine's Maritime Drone

UPDATED. Originally posted June 19 2023

Evolution of Ukraine's Maritime Drone

Flag Ukraine From the original prototypes in the summer of 2022, through the attacks on Sevastopol in October and November 2022, maritime drones were seen as an exclusively Ukrainian game. Then in February 2023 a Russian explosive USV was used against the Zatoka bridge south of Odesa. Images of this craft are not available but it was a small powerboat. And there is no doubt that it wasn't heavily influenced by the Ukrainian design.

CLICK to Enlarge.

Ukraine for its part was working on a 2nd generation. These improved craft are slightly smaller than the originals but retain the same overall arrangement. Prototypes were revealed on March 22 2023, the same day that several attacked Sevastopol. Video evidence suggests that at least one penetrated deep inside the protected harbor. The craft involved in the attack were likely the production 2nd generation version.

Magura V5

However images of the in-service version, with electro-optical device and Star Link antenna, were not public until May 24 when some attacked the Russian Navy intelligence ship Ivan Khurs. This was significant because it occurred far south of Crimea, showing the USV's impressive range. The attack was unsuccessful, as was another on intelligence ship, Priazovye, on June 11. The circumstances of these attacks are unclear and it appears that some of the USVs may have been inoperable before being engaged by Russian guns. The new version is associated with the designation Magura V5.

Magura V5 specifications:
Length: 5.5 meters
Width: 1.5 meters
Height above the waterline: 0.5 meters
Speed: 22 knots cruising, 42 knots max
Range: 450 nautical miles (approximately 833 km)
Payload: 320 kg
Communication: mesh radio with an aerial repeater or satellite communication.

Magura V5
Magura V5 maritime drone via SpetsTechnoExport / Uprom

In the meantime, another Ukrainian company was working on underwater drones. The Toloka TK-150 was revealed in April. It is a small design which relies on a mast for guidance and communication. It appears that development is still in its early phases.

Russia too unveiled its own maritime drone design. The Sargan design is much smaller than the Ukrainian ones and doesn't appear to have been the type used in the Zatoka bridge. Its utility is unclear and it may never enter service. But the influence of the Ukrainian USVs is however clear.

CLICK to Enlarge. 1st Generation Maritime Drone.

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