On the morning of October 29, the port of Sevastopol in the annexed Crimea was subjected to a massive drone attack.
The port houses ships of the Russian Navy and its Black Sea fleet.
At least three Russian ships were hit in the attack. Videos from the area showed that the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, the Admiral Makarov frigate, was apparently hit.
Russia admitted to damaging one ship in the drone strike.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, 16 drones should be operational. Seven of them were drones, or USVs (uninhabited surface area), according to Russia.
Russia was quick to blame Ukraine for the attack. Britain has also been accused of participating in the game. These accusations have not been confirmed by independent sources, but Ukraine is believed to be behind them.
After the attack, Russia withdrew from the agreement Transportation of grain across the Black Sea.
Praise the attack
Pavlo Lakichuk according to Kyiv does not depend on Former commander of the Ukrainian Navy, military analyst and expert on the security situation around the Black Sea.
The military analyst was not surprised when an attack on the port of Sevastopol was reported in October.
Prior to the attack, an image of a drone lying at the water’s edge near the port area went viral. The photo is said to have been taken by Rossi, and shows a marine drone the size of a kayak.
– Just two weeks ago, the Russians found Navy drones in the Kozacha Buktha area. Pictures of this match pictures from the attack on Sevastopol, says the Kyiv Independent military analyst.
He claims that the drones used at sea are of Ukrainian manufacture, and praised the way the operation was carried out.
The Kyiv Independent wrote that the low cost, maneuverability and effectiveness meant that the attack was described as a revolutionary moment in modern naval warfare.
– It’s a new way of waging war at sea. No one has ever done anything like this before, Lakeshock tells the newspaper.
While the Kyiv Independent source states that the weapon was manufactured in Ukraine, Orlogscaptain Tor Ivar Strømmen at the Naval Academy is more reticent about the drones’ origin.
– We cannot prove that the drones were 100% made in Ukraine, but there is a high probability of this.
Mainstream says that the technology behind these drones is not advanced.
It’s easy to be within Ukraine’s capacity, and drones are really something Reodor Felgen would have built in barges, says the Navy captain.
Strommen responds to statements that the attack on Sevostopol and the use of naval drones are “revolutionary” and cannot be compared to anything else, as follows:
– such a claim is pure propaganda, or the result of a complete absence of naval history. We have seen low cost attacks against defended ports since ancient times and throughout history. This is nothing new, they just used a slightly different weapon than before.
Built on jet ski technology
Sea drones are based on commercial jet skis, and can reach speeds of 50 knots, or 92 km/h, according to Strommen.
– The drone the Russians found on the beach had a burner tube in the nose of the aircraft, the type that corresponds to what the Soviet FAB-500 bomb used. This is the trigger that fires the explosive charge when it physically hits the target.
Thus comparisons can be made with the kamikaze drones used in Ukraine, that was widely discussed.
Just as an Iranian kamikaze drone is a low-cost cruise missile, a USV of this type is something we can call a low-cost torpedo. In principle, it performs the same function as a more advanced system – but with a lower probability of a decisive effect – with a greater probability of being eliminated before it reaches the target.
Strommen says these marine drones are easy to set up.
Similar drones have been used on several occasions as well in the Red Sea – by the Houthis, who are no doubt far from Ukraine when it comes to facilities, access to equipment and expertise.
Maritime drones have a “very low signature,” Srumen says, and that they can change trajectory so often that they’re hard to hit by artillery.
– The most effective countermeasures are helicopters with heavy machine guns and close defense with visual guidance. In addition, the drone’s control signals can be “jammed” (jamming or blocking radio signals), making drones almost completely harmless.
However, the challenge when using drones is range. How did the Ukrainians control drones up to 300 km from their territory?
Stromman thinks there are three possibilities.
1. The drones were sent from a naval vessel.
2. It may have been controlled by satellite connection.
3. The drones may have been controlled by special forces or others on the ground in the Seavstopol area.
The sea captain believes the second option is more likely.
It is possible and certainly likely, because the drone the Russians found has what looks like a satellite antenna in the back of the drone.
There may be more similar attacks
Using such technology to control a drone is also not very complex, Strommen says, and is largely used in larger drones.
– Ukraine has already gained access to technology commercially, but not least through all the different drones that they have received or purchased from different countries and suppliers.
Is there any reason to believe that Ukraine will be able to carry out similar new attacks against Russian targets using naval drones?
– Absolutely, but an attack similar to the attack on the seaport in Sevastopol is unlikely. Stromman says such attacks usually come as a one-off surprise.
“Coffee trailblazer. Certified pop culture lover. Infuriatingly humble gamer.”