Surface Forces: Ukrainian USVs Are Armed


July 6, 2024: Ukrainian Sea Baby USVs (Unmanned Surface Vessel)s are made of a material that is nearly invisible to radar. Each USV can carry up to 850 kg of explosives. Less explosives can be carried if you want the Sea Baby to travel farther. With a full load of explosives, it can reach targets up to 1,000 kilometers distant. Top speed is 90 kilometers an hour but more economical, in terms of fuel use, cruise speed is about half the top speed. That means it would take the Sea Baby about twenty hours to travel a thousand kilometers. That is a one way trip to a target, like a naval base or any ships docked at the base which is then attacked. Sea Baby navigates using several devices including GPS, INS, and short range sensors to detect and avoid obstacles. These sensors can also be programmed to identify and attack a specific target like a ship or other naval base facility. Sea Baby can also be equipped with short range weapons like explosive rockets that can hit targets a thousand meters distant with thermobaric/fuel air warheads. Recently Sea Baby was modified to carry several 122mm BM-21 unguided rockets. Each of these weighs 68.2 kg and are 2.9 meters long. These have 20.5 kg warheads and a maximum range of 20 kilometers.

When used to launch rocket attacks, the Sea Baby can escape and return to a Ukrainian base for reuse. Some Sea Babys are equipped with video cameras to carry out reconnaissance and surveillance missions. In this case, communications equipment must be carried to transmit video or individual digital photos back to the Ukrainian base. Each Sea Baby costs $214,000. The Ukrainians have been very imaginative and flexible in their use of these unmanned seagoing vessels.




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