Support Us

Four ships in a row: Defence Intelligence explains why Ukrainian drones started sinking Russian vessels – video

Monday, 4 March 2024, 18:31
Four ships in a row: Defence Intelligence explains why Ukrainian drones started sinking Russian vessels – video
A model of the Magura V5 drone. Photo: Getty Images

The Magura V5 Ukrainian uncrewed surface vessels (USVs) are successfully destroying Russian ships by acting in groups and being controlled by skilled operators.

Source: Ukrainska Pravda article Target and eliminate: How Ukraine's Magura drones devastate Russian ships

Details: As is stated in the article, on the night of 9-10 November 2023, it was time for the Magura drones to shine for the first time when they did what they had been designed for. A group of Magura drones detected and struck two high-speed landing ships of the Russians, Serna and Akula ("Shark"), in the sea near the village of Chornomorske not far from the Crimean coast.


The next two missions of these drones revealed their potential even more. On 1 February 2024, the missile-armed corvette Ivanovets was struck, on 14 February – landing ship Tsezar Kunikov.

These four vessels of the Black Sea Fleet of the Armed Forces of Russia which were not simply damaged, but completely sunk.

Quote by one of Magura developers: "Earlier, the number of drones used was smaller and their main task was to simply hit a warship; now they operate in groups of more than five, allowing them to take on different roles and have a specific place in the order of attack, etcetera.

The main goal of the first phase of the attack is to immobilise the target, so the first strike is usually to the engines. In the second phase, the most vulnerable part of the ship, as determined by our intelligence, is hit. If a hole is blown in the hull, additional drones are driven into it and detonated," the manufacturer explains, regarding tactics.

Details: The Magura V5 drone is quite expensive. Nobody reveals the exact price but it is certain that each unit costs millions of hryvnias [or hundreds of thousands of dollars – ed.]. The drone is so costly that even Kyrylo Budanov, Chief of Defence Intelligence of Ukraine, who often performs missions together with his soldiers, has not even once given in to the temptation to use one himself.

The Magura V5 was designed as a pure hunter. As the developers explain, this model was created specifically for hunting warships at sea, so it is smaller, faster, and much more manoeuvrable than other similar drones.

Asked what helped to switch from just damaging Russian ships to an almost guaranteed sinking, Budanov replied:

"You see, the technology is developing, and the operators’ skills are growing. I’d like to think that it’s solely a matter of our technological and experiential superiority, but in reality the training of our target ships’ crews, or lack thereof, also plays a role. And yes, luck is also a factor, but fortune favours the prepared."

Budanov explains that it is important to be able to quickly adapt to changes and make decisions on the spot.

"The most important thing here is to not interfere with the operators' ability to act according to the plan. And when something goes wrong, we need to make quick decisions about what to do next and how to do it. For example, the Tsezar Kunikov was not our primary target initially. But the chances of hitting our original target decreased during the mission itself," explains the head of the Defence Intelligence Department for Uncrewed Vessels, a general with an alias Borets ("Fighter").

He added that the Magura drones were hunting a group target but a few hours before the drones were supposed to approach the ship, the vessels started moving, and the main target could not be struck. So they decided to "hunt" the Tsezar Kunikov ship.

Support UP or become our patron!