On the night of July 17, at least one explosion occurred on the Crimean bridge. In the morning, the head of the Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov, said that an emergency had occurred in the area of the 145th pillar and traffic on the bridge was stopped, and later numerous videos of the damaged part were published. They show that
the span of the automobile bridge towards Taman was destroyed, the part of the bridge located in parallel leading to the Crimea was also damaged.
According to the National Anti-Terrorism Committee of the Russian Federation, the attack was carried out using a pair of surface unmanned aerial vehicles, and the speaker of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine, Andriy Yusov, in response to a request for comment on the situation, called the Crimean bridge “an unnecessary structure.”
In itself, the use of maritime attack drones by Ukraine is not news. In October 2022, similar devices attacked the Russian fleet in the bay of Sevastopol: some of the drones were destroyed, but, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the minesweeper Ivan Golubets and the bonnet barrier were damaged.
The British portal Navy Lookout analyzed the videos taken from the drones and concluded that the attackers could have damaged the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet Admiral Makarov, but the Russian military department did not confirm this information. In the future, Ukraine officially recognized the use of maritime drones, and promised to create a whole fleet of them.close 100% ForPost’ class=”item-image”>
A sea drone that was discovered in Sevastopol near Abramov Bay in the fall of 2022ForPost
The easiest way to describe Ukrainian maritime drones is as low-sided motor boats with explosives and a “roof” on which cameras and a satellite antenna are installed. The low side and short length make the ship an extremely inconvenient target: it is difficult to detect and even more difficult to destroy, mainly machine guns and small-caliber rapid-fire cannons are used for these purposes.
However, it remains unclear how the drones were able to reach the bridge. If the distance between Sevastopol and Odessa in a straight line is 300 km, then to pass from Odessa to Kerch, you will have to overcome at least 600 km. According to the Ukrainian publication NV, the fuel supply of the marine drone should be enough for 800 km of travel. These figures may be exaggerated and, in any case, the ship will need to navigate as far as possible from the coast of Crimea and avoid Russian sea and air patrols.
The Mash Telegram channel, citing its own sources, reports that the bridge was attacked by drones of a new type: “According to our information, fragments of jet skis were found in the attack area near pillar 145. It was their Armed Forces that were trained to upgrade into UAVs with explosives. They go to the target almost under water, looking out to the surface only a few centimeters.
This statement seems to be self-contradictory: the hydrocycle slides (planes) on the surface of the water and from a constructive point of view is completely opposite to a semi-submerged vessel. Mash also posted a video of one of the drones allegedly destroyed while trying to attack Sevastopol on June 16th. Outwardly, it really resembles a jet ski, and the huge speed of vehicles of this type (up to 200 km / h) can really be used to break through the defense.
As a rule, jet skis have a relatively small power reserve, and it is extremely doubtful that such a device could independently overcome 600 km. Regardless of the type of vehicles, the Ukrainian Armed Forces and intelligence could use several alternative routes to attack the bridge, but each of these methods is fraught with problems. The launch of drones from a larger surface carrier is practically impossible, since a military vessel is unlikely to break into the eastern part of the Black Sea due to Russian dominance in this area, and the use of combat drones from civilian ships is a violation of the laws and customs of war. Also excluded is rafting from the Ukrainian-controlled part of the Zaporozhye region: it is unlikely that a passable waterway leads from there to the Sea of u200bu200bAzov, and even if it exists, it is carefully guarded on both sides to prevent the penetration of saboteurs.
However, a marine drone is a small and relatively light aircraft that is easy to transport over land. Hypothetically, Ukrainian saboteurs or recruited agents could smuggle such a cargo into Russian territory and launch the device from the shores of the Sea of Azov or the eastern Black Sea coast. It should be remembered that during the explosion of the Crimean bridge on October 8, 2022, explosives were delivered to it precisely by undercover methods. According to the FSB, then the disguised bomb was delivered from Odessa by sea to Bulgaria, from there to Armenia, after which it was taken to Russia and loaded onto a truck bound for Crimea.
It should also be remembered that during the battles for Mariupol in the spring of 2022, Ukrainian helicopters were able to break through to the city located on the coast. Then, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense, two helicopters were shot down on their way back from the city, while according to the Ukrainian side, several such flights were carried out in order to deliver ammunition and evacuate the wounded. Mi-8 helicopters are quite capable of accommodating a sea drone, and the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate has repeatedly focused on this type of transport in statements.
At the time of publication of the material, the investigating authorities of the Russian Federation did not publish their version of what happened.
Gazeta asked military observer Mikhail Khodarenko, a retired colonel who served as an operations officer of the Main Operational Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces in the 1990s, to comment on the attack on the bridge. In his opinion, the armed forces of Ukraine have a significant number of unmanned boats. More attacks should be expected in the near future, and the Russian army should be ready for them. To effectively cover such an important infrastructure facility, which is the Crimean Bridge, you can look at the experience of the Kriegsmarine (German Navy) in the fight against Soviet submarines in the Baltic during the Great Patriotic War.
So, in April 1943, between the islands of Nargen and Porkkala in the Gulf of Finland, double anti-submarine nets were delivered with a depth of about 60 meters and a frontal length of about 30 miles (about 55 km). Among other things, this barrier was covered by two hundred bottom mines. The total length of the Crimean bridge is 19 kilometers, that is, three times less than the width of the Gulf of Finland in that place. In addition, in a number of sections the bridge passes through shallow water.close 100%
Net anti-submarine barrier in the Gulf of FinlandLibrary and Archives Canada
“The task of defending the Crimean bridge from unmanned boats is very difficult, but solvable. I would consider covering this bridge crossing with a pla Vuchim booms and mine-explosive barriers along its entire length. In addition, it is necessary to significantly strengthen the defense of the bridge with rapid-fire multi-barreled 30-mm cannons, one of the best means of combating unmanned boats. Of course, such a barrier will turn out to be expensive and complicated. However, the importance of the Crimean bridge and its significance for the peninsula as a whole and for the course of the special military operation in particular, in my opinion, allow the state to make such expenses in the current situation,” Mikhail Khodarenok said.
At the same time, even a solid boom will not be a “magic shield” from attacking drones and it can be broken through with several hits at one point. Therefore, in the first place, as always in the course of hostilities, come not so much technical measures as organizational ones, as well as the ability to think flexibly and improvise.