Overview Of Maritime Drones (USVs) Of The Russo-Ukrainian War, 2022-24

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2024-05-12 15:30:06

Following Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022, Ukraine swiftly developed a potent uncrewed naval force. Utilizing explosive-equipped uncrewed surface vessels (USVs), Ukraine has successfully inflicted significant damage on the Russian Navy. These pose such a formidable threat that the Russian fleet into a state of inactivity at port. This grants Ukraine a level of sea denial that was scarcely conceivable just a few years ago.

The cornerstone of this achievement, in my opinion, lies primarily in the implementation of uncrewed platforms. This has allowed operations which would not have been viable with crewed vessels. Uncrewed vessels can be smaller, and expendable.

Ukraine's uncrewed vessel revolution has in turn only been possible because of real-time two-way satellite communications. There have been uncrewed platforms before, but high bandwidth communications allows human-in-the-loop control. This enables faster deployment and rapid adaption to evolving targets and missions. Starlink serves as the primary provider of satellite communications, although Kymeta is also utilized. Automation will improve, likely making this human-in-loop command less necessary, but that is some way off.

We have also seen some development of semi-submerged or fully submerged versions. These fall under the UUV or AUV (uncrewed underwater vehicle, or autonomous underwater vehicle) category.

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