Swarms of sea drones are coming from Russia

According to information published by Tass on May 12, 2021, at present Russia is creating a combat engagement system for swarms of sea drones, a high-ranking source in the Russian defense industry told.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001China's swarms of sea drones (Picture source: Global Times)

At present, there is a task of engaging swarms of underwater drones rather than single vehicles or small groups of them. Experts believe the approach is the most effective.

Swarms of Russian unmanned underwater vehicles will be controlled by artificial intelligence (AI). “For example, the command post orders to destroy an aircraft-carrying attack group. AI will control a swarm of underwater vehicles to fulfill the mission in a constantly changing situation. AI will receive data from various sources and will concentrate the effort in one of the directions, maneuver or switch to another direction, withdraw from combat for some time, and deceive the adversary by demonstrative actions,”.

The displacement of underwater craft will hardly exceed 500-1000 tons. The vehicle has to covertly approach the adversary and destroy it. If the craft is lost in combat, its relatively cheap price will not affect the whole sea operation.

Sustainable control of underwater craft from air command posts, warships, and submarines is necessary.

“It has been experimentally confirmed that signals and commands are better transmitted a major depths of 8000 and even 11000 meters than at a thousand meters. It provides an advantage to the craft, which can approach the target at a depth of several thousand meters. So far, there is no weapon capable of destroying targets at such depths,” the source said.

The problem of signal transmission in different environments has to be resolved. Major progress has been achieved and the work is ongoing. As for navigational problems, the latest electronic gyroscopes will help unmanned underwater craft. The error can be less than ten meters for a thousand kilometers of the route, and the vehicle can precisely approach the target.

There is a question about the carriers of unmanned underwater and surface vehicles. “The unmanned craft change the whole concept of the size of surface warships. It is clear the vehicles are the future,” the source said.

Leading sea powers have embarked on the path. The United States is developing an antisubmarine surface craft. The Navy is expanding the capabilities of Sea Hunter surface vehicle.

Unmanned surface vehicles have to engage in reconnaissance, strike at surface targets, and operate electronic warfare. The US Navy plans a major modernization of its forces to include the unmanned craft into the combat force.

“As for the swarms of unmanned sea vehicles (both surface and underwater), he who streamlines the technology would get clear advantages in the armed struggle at sea,” the source said.

Sea Hunter is an autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) launched in 2016 as part of the DARPA Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) program.

Sea Hunter has a full load displacement of 145 tons and is intended to be operational through Sea State 5, waves up to 6.5 ft (2.0 m) high and winds up to 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h), and survivable through Sea State 7, seas up to 20 ft (6.1 m) high.

The trimaran hull provides increased stability without requiring a weighted keel, giving her a higher capacity for linear trajectories and better operations in shallow waters, though the greater width decreases maneuverability.

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