Ukrainian Drone Commander, Callsign 13: We Will Not Rest Until the Black Sea Is Free Again

Ukrainian kamikaze boat / Foto credit: U24
Ukrainian kamikaze boat / Foto credit: U24

Commander of operators of naval drones with call sign Thirteenth, participated in several successful attacks on russian ships, including a special operation near the town of Chornomorske in the temporarily occupied Crimea

A warrior of the Defense Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, with the call sign Thirteenth, spoke to the British publication The Times about the strikes carried out by naval drones on objects of the Black Sea Fleet of the aggressor state, russia.

The Thirteenth revealed to journalists the details of the attack by naval drones on russian ships near Chornomorsk in occupied Crimea on November 10.

Read more: The Transformation of Naval Warfare: Ukraine's Struggle Against russia in the Black Sea

As a result of the mission, the scouts successfully destroyed two enemy assault boats, one of the Shark class and another of the Serna class landing craft. Both russian vessels sank along with the loaded armored personnel carrier on board. Another drone exploded in the repair dock.

“They knew we were coming,” Thirteenth said. “But they couldn’t do anything about it. The joy was incredible. It was my life’s goal to sink a russian ship, and we sank two of them at once. And as far as I know, no one had ever done this before anywhere.”

The Ivan Khurs (Project 18280) reconnaissance ship, Defense Express
The Ivan Khurs (Project 18280) reconnaissance ship / illustrative photo of pre-war times

He also spoke about the successful strikes by maritime drones on the russian reconnaissance ship Ivan Khurs and the state-of-the-art patrol ships of the occupiers Sergey Kotov in May and September of this year.

Sea Baby kamikaze unmanned surface vehicle, Defense Express
Sea Baby kamikaze unmanned surface vehicle, summer 2023 / Photo from open sources

The publication notes that other units of the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine, including the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU), also employ kamikaze drones "other units have used Sea Baby drones to attack the Kerch Bridge, the frigate Admiral Makarov, a Sig oil tanker and the Olenegorsky Gornyak, a Ropucha-class landing ship."

“These weapons are extremely effective,” Thirteen said. “If we just imagine roughly what it costs to build ships like the Kotov and to train the crews — it takes years to build and crew ships like that. Even if we count all the drones used in an attack on one, they are thousands of times cheaper.”

The drone operators are changing naval warfare by exposing the vulnerability of enemy vessels to cheap, rapidly produced suicide drones, the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine reported.

“We are writing history,” warrior said. “And our western partners are very interested in these tools.”

Maritime Autonomous Guard Unmanned Robotic Apparatus (MAGURA) V-type is one of such tools.

Magura V5 is a new generation multipurpose unmanned surface vessel developed in Ukraine. It can perform a variety of operations such as surveillance, reconnaissance, patrol, search and rescue, mine countermeasures, marine protection, and combat missions. A 300hp engine propels it at up to 45mph as it attacks, with a cruise speed of 25mph giving it a range of about 250 miles.

The drone is equipped with two cameras, infrared optics, and a satellite module that transmits camera signals to the control center.

The creation of the fleet of Ukrainian strike naval drones was significantly influenced by Great Britain and the USA. The result of this collaboration is substantial losses for the fleet of terrorist russia and the displacement of the aggressor from the western part of the Black Sea.

The drones, combined with special forces raids on Snake Island and Crimea, as well as the sinking of the Moskva by navy missiles, have forced the ­russians on the back foot. They have had to shift from offensive patrols in the Black Sea to defensive missions.

russian Vasily Bykov patrol ship, Defense Express
russian Vasily Bykov patrol ship / Illustrative photo from open sources

The Thirteenth said: “The russians began to behave much more cautiously at sea. We can just take a look at their movement changes. They began to spend most of their time closer to the Crimean coast, making runs between Sevastopol, Feodosia, Kerch, Novorossiysk. They can no longer afford to travel along this route as freely as they felt before we started our work.”

He added “my dream is to sink even more russian ships, much larger ones. So many that they shouldn’t be able to sail at all. Do we have the capability to wipe out the entire Black Sea fleet? Yes. And we’re working on that”.

Evolution of the naval attack drones of Ukraine / Infographics by H I Sutton
Read more: Media Reveal Magura V5, the Ukrainian Naval Drone: Features and Specifications