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Ukrainian robots attack the Russian navy

Last Saturday, Ukraine showed Russia - and the whole world - how the wars of the future will be conducted: between robots and humans

Monument to shipwrecks, Sevastopol Crimea. Image:
Monument to shipwrecks, Sevastopol Crimea. Image:

The Ukrainians wanted to attack the Russian navy, but realized they had a problem: Ukraine does not have its own naval force. What to do? robots About 15 robots - eight unmanned aerial vehicles, and another seven unmanned kamikaze boats - were sent in a well-coordinated attack on the flagship of the Russian Navy. The boats were carrying hundreds of kilograms of explosives, deftly dodging the desperate shots of the Russian army soldiers, the helicopters that followed them and ships that tried to block their routes. According to the footage, at least one of them managed to get within a few meters of the Russian flagship... and then the video abruptly cut off. You can guess what happened.

The problem is that right now everyone is guessing, and no one is sure exactly what the immediate outcome of the attack was. According to the Russians, all the robots were neutralized, and only one small Russian boat was hit along the way. According to the Ukrainians, they won the war yesterday and the entire Russian army should withdraw from the territories it conquered. Or at least one robot boat managed to cause an explosion on the side of the flagship[1]. However, among the experts on naval battles there is a clear consensus: the flagship - even if it was not destroyed - survived the attack by the skin of its teeth, and the Russian fleet was reduced to dust. That's right.

"The damage to the Makarov flagship... is a great success for Ukraine and a reason for failure and shame for Russia."

Turkish naval officer Typhoon Özberk concluded[2].

Only a month ago, Russia increased security in the area of ​​the attacked port, precisely due to the fear of such an unmanned attack[3]. It helped her - but not enough. The Russians cannot assume that their ships are protected even in the best guarded naval bases. The robots just weren't supposed to get that close to the base. It wasn't supposed to happen.

We see how Russia - a power-on-paper, with a much larger number of soldiers than Ukraine's - is humiliated time and time again due to its limited technological capabilities. Ozbark explained in an article he wrote on the subject that -

"It is not easy to hit such a fast and small boat with classic weapons. In this case, there is no substitute for early detection of the boat and neutralization using smart ammunition or smart missiles."

What else? It does not seem that the Russian Navy is ready for a technological war of this level. Short-range smart ammunition? Too ambitious for them: the Russian Rambos are still shooting at robot boats from the helicopters.

And the robotic boats - or rather, their operators - grin, dodge easily and complete the mission successfully.

This situation should not change. In fact, it will only get worse for Russia. The country is currently dealing with sanctions on the chips and processors it can import, which are practically returning it to the nineties technologically. This is at a time when the rest of the world is rapidly moving forward in terms of upgrading missiles and robots of all kinds.

Another question that the experts are grappling with is the level of autonomy of the robotic kamikaze boats. The currently accepted assumption - and it is still an assumption - is that the boats were not completely autonomous. They were activated remotely, without the operators being present at all in the field. As summarized on TheDrive website -

"If this is so, then there are huge consequences for something so small and unsophisticated. So many ports are now in danger, over long distances, even potentially from non-state actors [eg, terrorist organizations. R.C.]. They don't need to be close to the place or control a tool within sight, to execute evasive, dynamic, and reactive attacks when necessary."[4]

This, then, is part of the future of modern warfare: robots - remotely controlled or completely autonomous - that cooperate with each other in the sky and at sea to focus even on distant and hard-to-reach targets.

It's just a shame that in the end, humans are the ones who get hurt.





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