Ukrainian ingenuity is ushering in a new form of warfare at sea
On September 21st an odd piece of flotsam washed up on the outskirts of Sevastopol. It was about five and a half metres long and the consensus was that it was a USV (uncrewed surface vessel, essentially a drone boat), possibly on a reconnaissance mission, that had been put together by the ingenious boffins who are to Ukraine what Q branch is to James Bond.
On October 29th reality bit. A fleet of the things, accompanied by similarly robotic air cover, attacked Sevastopol’s naval base, the home port of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. According to the Ukrainians, and backed up by video footage apparently shot from cameras on board one of the drones, they scored direct hits on Admiral Makarov, the fleet’s flagship, and two other vessels, damaging all three. That was followed on November 18th by a big explosion at a Russian oil terminal in Novorossiysk, also reported to have been the work of the same type of naval drones.
“For many it [these attacks] marks the start of a new age in…