The Chief of the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine, Kyrylo Budanov, has disclosed that Ukraine successfully employed six MAGURA V5 multi-purpose unmanned surface vessels (USV) to sink a Russian missile corvette earlier this week.
Budanov was quoted by a US news portal, TheDrive, that these naval drones, operated by the unmanned vehicle control unit of the 13th group of the Ukrainian Defense Intelligence Directorate (GUR), achieved six direct hits on the ship’s hull, resulting in its subsequent sinking during a special operation on the night of January 31/February 1.
The mission explicitly aimed at the Russian Tarantul-III class missile corvette Ivanovets. The Ivanovets, with a length of 56 meters, was commissioned on December 30, 1989, and acquired its present name on October 29, 1998.
During the attack, this vessel was stationed on Lake Donuzlav, the deepest lake in Crimea, connected to the Black Sea through an inlet.
Budanov reported that the naval drones delivered six direct hits to the hull of the Ivanovets during the operation, causing it to roll astern and ultimately sink.
Highlighting the significance of this achievement, the Chief of Defense Intelligence of Ukraine said that, based on preliminary data, the search and rescue operation conducted by the adversary yielded little success.
The Project 12411 guided missile corvette, which was the target of the attack, had a crew of 40. On February 1, the GUR released a video showcasing the Ukrainian sea drones in action as they attacked the Russian missile boat off the coast of occupied Crimea.
However, the video depicts three Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) striking the corvette. Nonetheless, the incident marks a significant development in the deployment and efficacy of unmanned surface vessels in naval operations.
Given Ukraine’s limited naval capabilities, the country has strategically employed missiles and a fleet of diverse maritime suicide drones to counterbalance Russia’s predominant influence in the Black Sea.
These tactical approaches have destroyed or significantly damaged at least 17 vessels within Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
Notably, the estimated value of the Ivanovets before its sinking, according to GUR, was approximately US$60 million to US$70 million.
The Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine suggested that up to 40 Russian sailors might have been on board at the time of the attack. However, Budanov refrained from disclosing the specific launch point of the USVs.
Contrary to the Ukrainian accounts, reports from Russian military bloggers and Russia’s defense ministry claimed that four Ukrainian sea drones were “destroyed” overnight but did not acknowledge any damage inflicted on the Ivanovets.
MAGURA V5 Multi-Purpose USV
The Ukrainian defense industry deploys the MAGURA V5 Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), the acronym denoting its designation as a “versatile maritime autonomous guard unmanned robotic apparatus.”
This advanced drone boasts multifunctional capabilities, encompassing surveillance, reconnaissance, patrolling, search and rescue, mine countermeasures, naval protection, and combat missions.
Featuring a hydrodynamic structure and streamlined profile, the MAGURA V5 achieves a quasi-stealth configuration and remarkable maneuverability.
Measuring 5.5 meters (18 feet) in length and 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) in width, the USV exhibits a cruising speed of 22 knots (40.7 kilometers per hour), a maximum speed of 42 knots (77.8 kilometers per hour), and an operational range extending up to approximately 833 kilometers (518 miles).
The exact date of the MAGURA V5’s combat debut remains unclear, but it was publicly introduced at the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) in Turkey in July 2023, Militanaryi reported.
Developed by SpecialTechnoExport, the creators emphasized its affordability and ease of launch from remote locations during the International Defense Industry Exhibition in July 2023.
The unmanned control system of the V5 minimizes reliance on human resources during missions, mitigating potential risks in challenging environments.
The Ukrainian military, specifically the GUR, has employed MAGURA V5 drones in the past. Notably, in November 2023, they were used to destroy two Russian landing craft docked at a Navy base in Chornomorske, western Crimea. GUR released a video of the attack at that time.
In November 2023, the Russians claimed to have captured a V5, marking the second documented instance of Russia obtaining a Ukrainian USV.
The first encounter occurred in September 2022 when an early version of a Ukrainian USV was discovered stranded in Sevastopol. This discovery preceded Ukraine’s drone boat campaign against Russian naval assets, initiating a substantial attack on Sevastopol.