Ukraine has established its first naval drone brigade and also unveiled its largest and most destructive uncrewed suicide submarine.
President Volodymyr Zelensky presented new colours to the 385th Separate Brigade of Special-Purpose Marine Unmanned Systems at a Ukrainian Independence Day parade on Thursday.
Marine drones have become one of Ukraine’s most successful weapons and in an interview Kyrylo Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, said that Russia was now spending huge resources training dolphins, building nets and installing jamming equipment trying to stop attacks.
“Of course 60 per cent, maybe even 70 per cent, of the drones they destroy. It’s true. There is nothing here, as they say, to hide. However for them, the problem is the remaining 30 per cent,” he told a Ukrainian military website.
The Ukrainian military has steadily built up the sophistication, accuracy and range of its naval drones, from attacking the Russian Black Sea Fleet in occupied Crimea to targeting warships in the harbour of Novorossiysk 200 miles away and now ports towards Bulgaria and Turkey.
The huge investment in Ukraine’s marine drones since the start of the war has made it one of the largest and most sophisticated fleets in the world, according to Navalnews.com, a specialist naval defence news website.
Surface naval drones have carried out almost all of Ukraine’s attacks but now it is launching a submarine drone, a black 20ft-long vessel called Marichka.
“Marichka will hit the ships on the underwater part, which can be even more destructive for the warships,” Navalnews said.
“A swarm of these suicide underwater uncrewed vehicles is very hard to defend.”
Earlier this year, Ukraine launched a far smaller submarine drone called the Toloka but it is unclear if it has yet been used to attack the Russian navy.