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​Plastic Magura V5 Sea Drones are Invisible to Radars, Says Chief Operator

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Illustrative photo: Magura V5 operated by "Thirteenth" / Still frame credit: Defense Intelligence of Ukraine
Illustrative photo: Magura V5 operated by "Thirteenth" / Still frame credit: Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

Group-13 reveals previously unknown specifications and features of the Magura V5, which has evolved

Previously known specifications of the Magura V5 sea drones need an update since the commander of Group-13 has shared some relevant details about this weapon that has become a menace to russian naval ships in the Black Sea, south of Ukraine.

Group-13, for a reminder, is a secret unit within the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine famed for maritime attacks on russian military vessels by swarming them with small and maneuverable explosive uncrewed boats. One of Group-13's targets was the Sergey Kotov patrol ship, successfully sunk on March 5th, 2024. The operation piqued the interest of journalists from the Ukrainian office of BBC.

Read more: Ukrainian Drone Commander, Callsign 13: We Will Not Rest Until the Black Sea Is Free Again
Magura V5, the maritime drone of Group-13 / Defense Express / Plastic Magura V5 Sea Drones are Invisible to Radars, Says Chief Operator
Magura V5, the maritime drone of Group-13 / Still frame credit: Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

Commander of Group-13, a serviceman with a call sign "Thirteenth," told the reporters that Sergey Kotov was so far the toughest target to defeat, out of five ships this unit had engaged. The patrol ship was attacked repeatedly two times but only on the third one did Ukrainian drones manage to destroy it. Side note, earlier the elite unit commander revealed that a total of ten Magura V5 drones were engaged for the operation, it took six of them to sink the russian warship.

Magura V5 is Group-13's exclusive weapon made by an undisclosed Ukrainian company, one of the three unmanned surface vessels of domestic manufacture in service with the Ukrainian Defense Forces. Each one has its own features and roles, and "Thirteenth" specified some of the unique specs of Magura V5 to the BBC journalists:

"It doesn't emit much heat, so it's almost not visible to thermal imaging cameras. It is made of plastic, so even radars have a hard time seeing it," he said.

The latest version of Magura as of February 2024 / Defense Express / Plastic Magura V5 Sea Drones are Invisible to Radars, Says Chief Operator
The latest version of Magura as of February 2024 / Still frame credit: Diia YouTube channel

Moreover, according to the drone unit commander, the operational range of Magura V5 is 800 km, and payload capacity is 250 kg — contrary to the previously known data about this unmanned system, suggesting it can carry 320 kg of load. The figures come from a presentation from the Ukrainian government's defense export agency SpetsTechnoExport:

/ Defense Express / Plastic Magura V5 Sea Drones are Invisible to Radars, Says Chief Operator
Frame from an older presentation by SpetsTechnoExport at IDEF 2023 international defense industry expo

These 250 kilograms of explosive are enough to sink a warship, "Thirteenth" assures. Control of the uncrewed vessel is secured via internet connection, so the operator could be anywhere, their location is not tied to a specific link range. Defense Express adds that earlier such drones were seen with Starlink antennas providing network connection through satellites. There are also a backup control channels in addition to the main one, the commander said without any further details.

"Thirteenth" says, the Magura V5 controller looks like one of those "nuclear briefcases" in Hollywood movies. However, usually the operator is sitting in a comfortale chair as he might need to manually pilot the drone for tens of hours straight / Still frame credit: Defense Intelligence of Ukraine

Also, the hull length has increased, compared to the previously known information – current 6 meters vs. 5.5 meters known earlier. While the cost for a Magura drone remains undisclosed, "Thirteenth" mentioned that all of those produced since early 2023 combined would still be cheaper than the Ivanovets missile corvette of the russian Black Sea Fleet which was sunk by the very same drones in early February 2024. Defense Intelligence estimates the cost of this battleship at $60–70 million, however, the exact number of Magura drones produced is not disclosed.

A fragment of Thirteenth's interview from February 2024 showing Magura V5 drones ready for action / Defense Express / Plastic Magura V5 Sea Drones are Invisible to Radars, Says Chief Operator
A fragment of Thirteenth's interview from February 2024 showing Magura V5 drones ready for action / Still frame credit: Defense Intelligence of Ukraine
Read more: Updated Sea Baby 2024 Naval Drone: One Ton of Explosives with a Range of Over 1000 km