#

Why the Attack on Novorossiysk Naval Base is Important fo Ukraine's Counteroffensive

2261
Why the Attack on Novorossiysk Naval Base is Important fo Ukraine's Counteroffensive

Today's drone attack on the russian navy base is especially important, from several points of view

August 4th of 2023 has become a historic day for Ukraine for a few reasons. First is the fact that the Ukrainian Defence Forces have carried out a successful attack on the russian port and naval base in Novorossiysk, the one russians had considered a "rear base" for a long time.

Ukrainian suicide boats have once again shown revolutionary performance since they managed to cover a distance of at least 700 km, and no naval aviation, warships, barriers, or electronic warfare equipment managed to prevent them from accomplishing the mission.

Read more: Spectacular Video of the russian Olenegorsky Gornyak Landing Ship Defeat by Ukraine’s Kamikaze Boat Appeared

The results of this attack we're seeing almost in real-time: footage of the barely floating Olenegorsky Gornyak landing ship has spread through the media, and the Suvorovets anti-sabotage ship most probably sunk.

A Significant Blow to russian Logistics

To make the picture of consequences more clear, we should point out a few details that might be not so obvious at first glance. Although these factors have a strategic important in the war between russia and Ukraine.

First of all, a reminder that for at least since autumn last year, the russian army has been using Novorossiysk port as a transshipment base for the delivery of military cargo by maritime transport to the ports in the occupied Berdiansk and Mariupol cities in southern Ukraine. The transport they've been using the most is landing ships. There are reportedly 10 of them in the Black Sea as of now.

Illustrative image
Illustrative image: common directions of russian supplies carried by landing ships / Map credit: Google Earth / Render by Defense Express

On that note, when the Ukrainian Defense Forces were planning a raid on Novorossiysk, the priority target could have been this particular supply route and the assets involved in it, as it has a certain impact on how the battles are proceeding in the southern theater of the russian invasion.

Read more: Are russian Landing Ships Legitimate Targets for Destruction Despite the Kremlin's Declaration of 'Civilian Transportation'?

With that in mind, Defense Express assumes that today's strike on Novorossiysk is a logical continuation of the strategy of exhausting russian logistics which earlier was implemented mainly on the land.

Missile Carriers Could be Next

Another indication of our assumption that the attack was aimed at logistic lines is the satellite imagery published days before the strike by OSINT analyst MT_Anderson.

The satellite photo of the Novorossiysk base shows that there were only 2 out of 9 ships capable of carrying and launching Kalibr land attack missiles stationed there as of August 2nd, 2023. At the same time, there were two landing ships, one Project 11711 and one Project 775 (most probably, it was that very Olenegorsky Gornyak), and at least one formally-civilian cargo vessel that is in fact used for military supplies.

On the other hand, open-source data suggests that Novorossiysk is actually quite often used for accommodating most of the Kalibr-capable missile ships and submarines of the russian navy involved in this war. Hence, this port may also be attacked in the future with the goal of taking down missile carriers as well.

Magura V5 maritime kamikaze drone, July 2023
Magura V5 maritime kamikaze drone, July 2023 / Still image from a CNN video report

Suicide boats Become More Refined

August 4th assault on Novorossiysk also became a good test for the explosive maritime drone technology, relatively new to the Ukrainian Navy.

It turned out that this kind of weapon not only can launch effective strikes almost at its declared max range of 800 km but also that the equipment installed in this kamikaze boat can maintain real-time connection and transmit TV signal back to the control station under conditions of russian electronic warfare (EW) interference. It also dispelled the concerns that satellite internet connection might be not good enough to support such a mission.

The russian new portable radar, allegedly capable of detecting Ukrainian naval drones at a distance of up to 6 km
The russian new portable radar, allegedly capable of detecting Ukrainian naval drones at a distance of up to 6 km / Open source photo

In addition to excellent mobility and a high level of controllability, the naval suicide drones involved in the attack on Novorossiysk could also receive a bigger warhead (which could be up to 450 kg, according to some reports).

On the other hand, we should expect that the russians will also try to improve their defenses in anticipation of further attacks by explosive boats. And it's not just about adding more physical means of protection, such as boom barriers.

It also means EW systems, for example, the mini-radar, which the russians have already deployed to protect the Crimean Bridge or they will continue experimenting with the "transplantation" of elements stripped off land-based EW stations onto missile-carrying corvettes themselves.

The russians practice options for defense against suicide boats on one of the ships of their Baltic Fleet, July 2023
The russians practice options for defense against suicide boats on one of the ships of their Baltic Fleet, July 2023 / Infographics credit: H I Sutton
Read more: Media Reveal Magura V5, the Ukrainian Naval Drone: Features and Specifications