Ukraine checkmated the Black Sea Fleet: how the attack on the ships took place
These days I have been trying to understand the situation that happened near the Black Sea bay, because when I realised what had happened, I realised that yesterday's world would never be the same again. Ukraine has changed the global principles of naval warfare today.
But let's take it one step at a time.
At night (or rather early in the morning) on October 29, 2022, several surface vessels attacked ships of the Black Sea Fleet. Judging by the data available on the Internet, as well as the air defence work that is shown in the footage, the attack by surface drones was combined with an attack by UAVs, which were apparently munitions-barragers. The attack on the ships was carried out both inside and outside the bay. According to preliminary reports, the Black Sea Fleet's flagship (the second in a row) was disabled, as well as several other ships, including missile boats, a minesweeper and a submarine. And of course, Russia is limiting the information surrounding this event as much as possible, just as it did with the Moscow. "What Moscow, the damaged Moscow, it's all lies and intrigues of the Banderites, there's a small fire from a cigarette butt and the midshipman twisted his leg, everything is fine with Moscow". And we will try to find out what it was.
So, what was the Black Sea Fleet attacked with? While enough has been written about the redesigned Mugen PROs and their method of use is clear (fly in at a lower altitude, spike the target with a fatter one), the surface-to-air missiles are not so obvious. And they are very interesting.
The Ukrainian drone can cover a distance of about 1000-1200 km and has a 75kg warhead, the Russian Federation said. How can such data be accurate? Why 75 and not 50? Because these drones have already fallen into Russian hands in September. Yes, in September, the Russians found a Ukrainian drone washed up on the shore and even posted a photo of it. It was probably a drone that had malfunctioned during test swims and did not have a warhead, which is probably why it did not blow itself up.
Judging by the photos, we have a surface drone equipped with a water cannon engine, a warhead of about 75 kg (here we will believe the Russians, they must have studied the compartment for the warhead), equipped with stable communication and positioning, as well as thermal and daylight control cameras. And judging by the unmasked civilian cameras, it is still a test drone with test cameras.
The drone is inconspicuous due to its size and is probably hard to see in the autumn sea behind the waves, as the refusal to use a propeller towards the water cannon engine is limited by the echo sounders of ships designed for classic torpedoes with propellers. The drone clearly has high manoeuvrability, which was prompted by watching (repeatedly) a video posted on the Internet. At some point, the drone, manoeuvring and hunting for a ship beyond the bay (apparently, it was the Makarov), flew past the boat, forcing the sailors to jump out. The video clearly shows that the pilot pointed the drone at the boat and then turned sharply to the left just before the boat. Like a shark waving away a fish that is not worthy of being its breakfast. But the pilot was confident in the manoeuvre, so he performed this "scarecrow" in a combat situation, and, judging by further excerpts of the video, continued to hunt Makarov. No pilot flying a poorly controlled drone would have suffered from such bullshit.
Let's move on. The Black Sea Fleet, as the sailors explained to me, is very well protected in the Black Sea Bay. There are electronic warfare stations, patrol ships, booby-traps, regular posts with small arms on the piers, cameras, thermal imagers - in general, try to get through. But judging by the video in the telegram channels, the first strikes occurred at night in the bay. Separately, it is worth noting the footage from the video on the camera, where the thermal imager demonstratively shows ships standing at the berths. And clearly with military outlines. That is, the drones did not just enter the port, they were still moving around the port at low speed, trying to find priority targets and identify them. That is, their capabilities allow for covert penetration and identification of priority targets. How could such a drone penetrate a heavily guarded facility? I don't know. I have an assumption that the drone in question can (perhaps briefly) dive underwater and travel a short distance underwater, which allows it to pass unnoticed through places where the upper water's edge is protected. Or maybe the Russians were just sleeping when several surface drones swam openly through the guarded gate and spread out across the bay to look for fancier targets. But no matter how much I consider the Russians to be degenerates, even I think it's not that simple. They couldn't have missed the outbreak by that much, given that they were aware of the presence of such drones. They closed the boathouse, set up posts at the entrance, and had a boat nearby, so no one could swim through. But they did swim through. Or at the entrance, everyone there was so drunk that they missed several small vessels under their noses. Which I still think is unlikely.
The explosions in the bay began around 4am. At the same time, judging by the video, some of the targets were identified by thermal imagers in the bay at night, and the battle in front of the bay was already at dawn. We can assume that the drone attack lasted about 3 hours. That is, for three hours, Ukrainian flying and surface drones had all the holes in the Black Sea Fleet. Also, the cameras on the drones show that standard weapons do not work well against a nimble, stealthy target. One drone was apparently destroyed with the help of a helicopter and a ship, but during the day, and apparently it was already the end of the action, as it was dawn, most of the drones had already exploded, having found targets at night.
To summarise. About a dozen Ukrainian surface drones sailed into the Black Sea Bay. Some of them swam into the bay and scattered to look for targets. According to reports, they chose fat targets. There is information about the damage to another missile frigate, the Essen (which, by the way, was next in line to become the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, but as we can see, being the flagship of the World Cup is a bad omen), a missile boat, and a minesweeper. It is unclear why the minesweeper was targeted, although it may have been damaged when another ship was blown up, or it may have been just nearby. This is actually believable, as the cameras clearly show the outlines of warships in the thermal imager, the pilots move the nose from right to left, showing the marina where the warships are parked. Since this is clearly at night, and the drones are not yet being fired upon, there is no reason why they could be prevented from approaching the ships in the video and initiating a charge. Why can't you see the explosion? I think it's because, judging by the camera angle, when the ship approaches the ship closely, the side of the ship blocks the entire view and it's not clear, except for the pilot, where it is approaching and what is happening. That's why this part of the video was cut out.
But the video of the explosions in the bay was provided to us by the people of Sevastopol themselves. And the explosions, according to them, were... loud. After that, the flagship, the Admiral Makarov missile frigate, approached the bay (apparently to repel the drone attack, after all, Makarov is a very modern ship with a huge selection of weapons for all tasks), where it was attacked by one or more surface and aerial drones, resulting in its being hit, though not sunk, but since it was already daytime, some of the surface drones that took part in the attack were destroyed by the Makarov and helicopters.
I'm still in a state of amazement, but Ukraine has changed the game on the modern naval battlefield. Yes, my Ukraine, not the most technically advanced country, did something that was simple, modern and elegant. I myself communicate a lot in the field of UAVs, but I have never heard of the creation of such drones. Yes, after watching the video, it's clear that this is a project of the SBU and the General Staff, they made it clear at the end of the video. They simply entered the most heavily guarded bay of the Russian fleet, brought down several ships, and the next day, having hacked into Crimean broadcasting, posted footage of the operation under the demonstration "Yes, it's us! And what are you going to do, you bastards? This is just the beginning."
But before that, there was silence everywhere about this project. And even the news of the captured drone did not shake up the information space. Within a very short time, I assume that with the help of its allies, Ukraine was able to develop, test and implement a drone that has no analogues in the world. Even the newest, classified American Mantas does not look convincing when looking at the capabilities of the Ukrainian drone.
A drone that can cover about 1000 km of distance carrying 75 kg of warhead, can move unnoticed in the water area with echolocation buoys, pass unnoticed entrances to protected marinas, is resistant to both shipboard and stationary EW (and, as I was told, the power of stationary EW is enormous, the power of the stationary EWs around the Black Sea Fleet is enormous), be nimble and manoeuvrable enough to hunt ships that can reach speeds of around 50 km/h on the water, and at the same time successfully complete missions that have such non-trivial targets as the Black Sea Fleet flagship. The use of this drone in conjunction with a barrage munition flying over the water's edge, and at night, greatly complicates the ship's chances of repelling an attack.
Yesterday, Ukraine demonstrated to the world that it is possible to fight, and successfully, even with a huge fleet. And even on its territory. It showed how the fleet suddenly turns from a formidable force into just an expensive ballast, a pile of iron with people who will be afraid to leave the bay because Ukrainian remote-controlled sharks will be waiting for them in the sea, in the dark.
Even if the Makarov came out of this battle in one piece, what are the other ships going to do? They don't have the same weapons and capabilities. Will an ordinary Russian boat with a medium degree of depreciation survive the attack of three such surface drones and three barrage munitions, attacking it together and in the dark? The odds are clearly not in favour of the boat, and I don't think the Russian sailors have any desire to test it.
Yes, now Russia will start claiming that the grain deal is over and it will close the Black Sea again. But let me ask you - what are you going to block it with? Do you have a lot of ships with captains with adamantium anuses, ready to patrol the Black Sea in winter in isolation from the main forces? Now there has been an attack by a dozen attack drones, but what if it is twenty? Thirty? If you couldn't hit the drones quickly and with certainty before entering Sevastopol Bay, what chance do you have in the open sea? And we're not even talking about the fact that along with the drone, the Neptune could also fly on board, which could well be part of a comprehensive solution to destroy the ships.
Ukraine has changed the principles of naval combat forever. Not America, not some other high-tech NATO country. It was Ukraine. Ukraine developed and ensured the necessary secrecy of the project, and despite the fact that the Russians still got information about the drone's specifications, it entered the Sevastopol Bay and attacked the Black Sea Fleet ships, giving priority to missile carriers that were firing calibres at peaceful cities. Ukraine. Our country. It turned the usual world upside down with armoured mastodons on the water. 9 years ago, Russia annexed Crimea to have its own base for the Black Sea Fleet. Nine years later, Ukraine has rendered the Black Sea Fleet useless. So much for the mirror image.
And I want to end this article with words from an expert Russian website that expressed its opinion on Ukrainian surface drones.
"All of this is, once again, very serious and cannot but be disturbing, and it is only amusing that the Yanks, among the fans of Bandera's army, are hyping the news about amazing Ukrainian engineers who are as intelligent as the Houthis from Yemen. That is, they are trying to make a long-range munition out of everything they have at hand. Indeed, there are ongoing discussions on independent forums about how to make anti-ship self-propelled munitions from small boats, such as small motors."
Guys, what do you think of our engineers now? Isn't it funny anymore? What the f**k is wrong with you, Rashists?