Microblog showed the first use of a Russian naval kamikaze drone

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Russian microblogs are circulating a video that they claim has captured the first use of a Russian naval kamikaze drone in a military operation in Ukraine. Some local media have also started spreading the news with the video attached to it. 

Video screenshots

The video is quite short—41 seconds and shows the same captured frame. The video clearly shows a craft that Russian micro-bloggers claim is a Russian naval kamikaze drone. The speed of the boat is quite decent; it moves relatively fast. 

Interestingly, shortly before the drone bursts into flames, the footage doesn’t show it hitting anything in the water at all. The viewer is left with the impression that the drone either self-destructed or was met with a shot that caused it to explode. A target located at the site of the explosion is not visible unless it is underwater. But in this case, the video resources also do not mention “successfully hitting the target”. The Russian resource TopWar mentions that it was a “struck coastal target” with the drone using 250 kg of explosives on board.

What do we know about the drone?

From the video, it’s tough to pinpoint the model of the Russian naval kamikaze drone. The visible aspects, like speed, are clear, but much remains a mystery. Even Russian resources offer little detail, only noting that the main channel sharing this on Telegram is ‘Beyond the Fogs’. 

Some sources speculate that the individuals behind the ‘Beyond the Fogs’ Telegram channel are actually the drone’s developers. According to the Russian Telegram channel Operacia Z [Operation Z], “The project faced numerous challenges after receiving backing from the previous defense minister. The drone is assembled in workshops located in the Tula region, with support from the regional government.” 

Russian sources claim the maximum declared range is 250 km, albeit suggesting it could be extended with larger tanks, as noted by Operacia Z. The current payload maximum is 250 kg, with plans to boost it to 350 kg of explosives. The drone is also equipped with advanced satellite modules and an inertial navigation system based on compass deviation, writes Operacia Z.

Not Russia’s first naval drone

While we can’t confirm the claims made by various sources, there’s speculation about a new Russian kamikaze drone. Even if true, it’s not the first of its kind for naval operations. At the end of last year, Russia introduced another kamikaze drone named Dandelion to its Navy. 

Details about “Dandelion” are sparse, but some specs have surfaced. The kamikaze USV reportedly hits speeds of up to 80 km/h and boasts a range of approximately 120 nautical miles [220 km] at speeds reaching 45 knots (83 km/h). It might run on an electric engine, as some reports suggest, “this new sea drone can […] travel 120 nautical miles on a single charge.” 

Photo credit: TopWar

A standout feature of the “Dandelion” is its adaptability, with a payload capacity of up to 600 kg. This allows it to carry a mix of explosives, special cargo, and reconnaissance gear. Plus, there’s an underwater version equipped with four engines, suitable for sub-surface operations within a 1-kilometer range and a 5-kilogram payload capacity.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On February 21, 2022, Russia stated that its border facility was attacked by Ukrainian forces, resulting in the deaths of five Ukrainian fighters. However, Ukraine quickly dismissed these allegations, labeling them as ‘false flags’.

Video screenshot / Twitter

In a notable move on the same day, Russia announced it officially recognized the self-proclaimed areas of DPR and LPR. Interestingly, according to Russian President Putin, this recognition covered all the Ukrainian regions. Following this declaration, Putin sent a battalion of Russia’s military forces, tanks included, into these areas.

Fast forward to February 24, 2022, global headlines were dominated by a significant incident. Putin commanded a forceful military assault on Ukraine. Led by Russia’s impressive Armed Forces positioned at the Ukrainian border, this assault wasn’t spontaneous but a premeditated action. Despite the circumstances resembling a war, the Russian government refrains from using this term. They’d rather refer to it as a “special military operation”.


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