Would kamikaze drones be able to send every Russian ship armed with the “Caliber” missile system straight for Moscow?

The Royal Institute for Strategic Studies (RUSI) devoted its following commentary to the history of the fleet of kamikaze boats that Ukraine wants to develop to strengthen the Navy.

In particular, the authors of RUSI note that the raid of such kamikaze boats on the harbor of temporarily occupied Sevastopol on October 29, 2022, gave many commentators reason to declare that a “new era has begun” in naval art.

The first units of the fleet of "kamikaze boats" of the Defense Forces of Ukraine, November 2022, image - United24
The first units of the fleet of “kamikaze boats” of the Defense Forces of Ukraine, November 2022, image – United24

This will mean, in particular, the “death” of large surface ships as a class of weapons, even if none of the racist “watercraft” could be sunk during that attack on captured Sevastopol. But it seems that it is too early to talk about a revolution in naval warfare thanks to our drones.

At first glance, unmanned kamikaze boats in our version are mass weapons, and due to this, they are effective. After all, how can one treat weapons differently, for the manufacture of which technologies of not only military but also “dual” purpose can be widely used – infrared sensors and optical-electronic stations, power plants, and even Internet receivers from Starlink?

Of course, before that, some people tried to make a similar type of weapon – for example, in 2017, the Yemeni Houthis successfully attacked a surface drone against a frigate of the Saudi Arabian Navy.

But right now, under our conditions, the idea of ​​​​a fleet of kamikaze drones “fired.” But it has set a certain potential for development. For example, communist China is already working on the idea of ​​​​a “swarm” of unmanned surface ships that will attack the enemy’s fleet. It is obvious that Western countries will work out similar things.

Moreover, the development of electronic technologies makes it possible to rely on more compact platforms for more complex combat tasks that will require “cascade” calculations. But, as RUSI experts further warn, the main thing is not to simply get carried away by the “revolutionary” nature of another technology for waging war at sea.

For example, back in the distant 1880s, theorists of the French Navy already believed that small torpedo boats and submarines (which at that time existed mainly in the form of projects and drawings) would be able to “bury” a class of large surface ships. But this did not happen. At least because effective means of self-defense against the “mosquito fleet” have appeared.


When the class of missile boats appeared in the 1960s, there were also expectations that now missiles would “put the cross” on large surface ships. But no, such an attempt at a “revolution” in naval art only gave a new round of development specifically for large ships because it turned out that now the fleets of the leading countries of the world have large surface platforms for missile strikes on the enemy territory.

Accordingly, as the Royal Institute of Strategic Studies warns, before scaling the story with the use of surface drones, both in the Navy of Ukraine and for other navies, it is necessary to formulate a clear list of tasks first for this type of weapon.

RUSI itself offers “to choose” the task of conducting anti-submarine warfare, carrying out patrol service, or the role of “false targets” for the enemy’s coastal defense.

From Defense Express, we would like to add that in our conditions, the provision of anti-aircraft defense of the Black Sea coast of Ukraine could be added to such a list of tasks.

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