“Ukraine’s Maritime Drone Strikes Again: Reports Indicate Attack On Novorossiysk” –Naval News

Artist’s Impression of the Ukrainian Navy maritime drone attack on Novorossiysk, November 18 2022

Naval News reports,

It appears that a Ukrainian maritime drone, similar to those using in an attack on Sevastopol, has struck Novorossiysk. This would be strategically important, showing that more of the Russian Navy is under threat. Efforts may be underway to suppress this story in Russian media.

What might be missed in the report is that Novorossiysk, unlike Savastopol, is not in occupied Ukraine. It is in Russia. According to Wikipedia, “Novorossiysk is the biggest Russian seaport. In 2019 cargo turnover amounted to 142,5m tons. In 2021 cargo turnover amounted to 105,2m tons.”

It is too early to say that this is the start of a Ukrainian campaign against Russia’s oil and gas export industry, but it would be one way to apply additional leverage. If the Ukrainians are successful in their crowd funding drive to build 100 of these explosive Uncrewed Surface Vessels, they could make it very dangerous for Russia’s tankers and coastal energy infrastructure.

“Loitering Munition Strikes Ukrainian Gunboat, A First In Naval Warfare” –Naval News

Naval News reports a Ukrainian Gyruza-M-class patrol boat

Gyurza-M-class gunboat. Photo: Ministry of Defense of Ukraine

has been hit by a Russian Lancet Loitering Munition.

ZALA Lancet, side view, Photo by Nickel nitride

The Ukrainian gunboat seems to have been pretty well armed.

We have talked about Loitering Munitions before:

These could be the answer to the Coast Guard’s need to be able to defeat small, highly manueverable, high speed surface threats.

They also extend the range at which non-state actors might be able to engage Coast Guard units.

“Ukraine’s New U.S. Supplied Combat Boats Already Patrolling Black Sea” –Naval News

Metal Shark 40 Defiant

Naval News reports,

6 U.S. Navy type patrol vessels have recently been supplied to Ukraine. These are already active in the Black Sea where they face a much more powerful adversary in the Russian Navy. But the Ukrainian Navy is building a reputation as an effective asymmetric force.

These are the same 44 foot patrol boats the Navy has been buying.

Previous discussion of other boats being transferred to Ukraine here.

“Ukraine Unleashes Mass Kamikaze Drone Boat Attack On Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Headquarters” –The Drive

Russian frigate Admiral Makarov

The Drive reports, it appears Ukraine made a mass attack of unmanned air and surface craft on Russia’s primary naval base in the Black Sea, Sevastopol (Ukraine is not claiming responsibility). There seems to be confirmation from Russia that minor damage was done to a minesweeper, but other reports indicate a relatively new frigate, the Admiral Markarov, serving as flagship of the Black Sea Fleet, may also have been damaged. Video in the report shows a very close approach to a frigate of the same class, apparently by an unmanned surface craft before the video ends abruptly.

Russia is also claiming that the UK was involved in the planning of the attack.

While unlikely, how to defend against such  attacks probably should be in the Coast Guard’s skill set. Force protection and harbor defense are potential missions.

Boom Defense, Everything Old is New Again

A little footnote on the War in Ukraine. This is from Covert Shores “Attack On Kerch Bridge: Initial Geolocation Of Damage.” A section at the bottom of the post is a look at increased Russian activity after the attack on the bridge.

Take a look at the detail picture of the harbor, above, top, near the center, second from the right. The thin wavy line is a boom or net accross the entrence to Sevastopol harbor.

Steel floats for anti-submarine nets, 1953

Anti-submarine nets were common during WWII, and booms go back to at least the American Revolution if not to antiquity. This may be in response to Ukraine’s apparent use of unmanned surface vessels. I have seen some barriers deployed around aircraft carriers moored at North Island in San Diego.

What does this have to do with the Coast Guard? Buoy tenders were commonly used as Net Tenders during WWII, opening and closing the anti-submarine nets.

Armed unmanned surface and subsurface vehicles are providing a new reason to deploy nets and barriers. We may see a return of these systems.

“Suspected Ukrainian Explosive Sea Drone Made From Recreational Watercraft Parts” –USNI

Image of the suspected Ukrainian USV circulating on Russian social media. Image via Naval News

The US Naval Institute has a closer look at what is believed to be an explosive Uncrewed Surface Vessel (USV) of Ukranian origin, found in Crimea.

According to the report, the propulsion appears to have been from a Sea-Doo personal recreational watercraft.

The report includes a comparison with past examples of explosive motor boat and significantly, the diagram of the suspected Ukrainian craft is along side an outline of an adult male, providing scale, that suggests the craft is about 12 feet in length.

Hopefully the Coast Guard is paying attention, because similar craft might be employed by terrorist against the US.

“Mystery Drone Boat Washes Up Near Home Of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet” –The Drive

See the linked post for more photos

The Drive/The War Zone discusses reports of a possible suicide drone surface vessel. This looks more sophisticated than the unmanned explosive motor boats that were used by Yemen’ Houthi faction, possibly using satelite communications to allow it to be operated over much greater distance from the control station.

“These Are The Riverine Patrol Boats Ukraine Is Getting From The U.S.” –The Drive

Riverines attached to Riverine Squadron 2 in a SURC at Haditha Dam Forward Operating Base conduct a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, December 20, 2007. Members of RIVRON 2 patrol Haditha’s dam and surrounding waterways, denying their use by insurgents, which in turn provides security to local fisherman. Location: Haditha Dam FOB, Anbar Province Iraq. (United States Navy, MC2 Kirk Worley) The package includes two of these.

The Drive/The War Zone has the best expanation I have seen so far as to the 18 boats that are to be transferred to Ukraine as part of the latest aid package.

A Sea Ark Dauntless patrol boat operating in San Diego. The type has been a very common sight at locales where U.S. Navy ships operate from for years now. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Moriatis/Released. Ten of these 34 foot boat are included in the aid package. 

While the 35 and 34 foot boats have been identified as to type, the six 40 foot boat have not. The post speculates that these may be of a type exported under Foreign Military Sales in 2020. I think, it is not unlikely these may be the new Navy 40 foot force protection patrol boats. They are an improvement on the 34 foot Sea Ark boats. They can be armored. They have an electro-optic system on the mast. They would be particularly useful if they had the remote weapon system on the bow they were designed to carry.

“Watch Ukrainian TB2 Striking Two Russian Raptor Assault Boats” –Naval News

Naval News brings us a report of the destruction of two small Russian patrol boats by small guided weapons launched from an unmanned aircraft.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone. The Ukrainians have been attacking Russian vehicles with guided weapons, launched from UAS since the invasion began. Hitting a boat, is, if anything, easier than hitting a particular moving vehicle on a landscape cluttered with other vehicles, buildings, trees, and various heat sources.

But perhaps for those who have not been paying attention this may be a wakeup call. I happy to be able to say it looks like the Coast Guard has recognized this as a threat to our boats in PATFORSWA.

But maybe we need to look beyond the threat of nation states. Like other effective, but relatively cheap weapons, UAVs, and particularly suicide drones, are likely end up in the hands of non-state actors, including criminal and terrorist organizations.

“Remembering Coast Guard Cutter Cushing” –MyCG

USCGC Cushing sails past the Statue of Liberty

MyCG has a retrospective on the USCGC Cushing, a WPB lost with all hands in action against Russia, after being transferred to Ukrainian Navy, apparently in an effort to lure a Russian corvette within range of shore batteries.

USCGC Cushing sails for her final Coast Guard mission before being decommissioned in 2017

This was how she was armed in Ukrainian service.

Soviet era 25mm gun, the 110 PM.