Ukraine’s Naval Drones Force Russia to Bolster Defenses at Kerch Bridge

Satellite Images Reveal Additional Barges and Floating Booms

has reportedly vowed to destroy the strategic Kerch bridge linking with occupied Crimea. In response, Russia has attempted to protect the bridge with barges and floating boom defenses. However, Ukraine has demonstrated that it can innovate and adapt to defensive measures in the Black Sea.

According to Britain's defense ministry, Russia started placing barges as barriers on the southern side of the 12-mile-long bridge in early May. By June 8, the protective measures had swelled to include several additional barges and floating boom defenses that run parallel to the bridge.

Brady Africk, an open-source-intelligence analyst, noted that “these barriers complicate the equation, but it is still a solvable one.”

Ukraine has repeatedly attacked the bridge over the past two years, underscoring Kyiv's ambitions.

Ukraine Adapts and Innovates with Naval Drone Programs

Despite Russia's efforts, a Ukrainian navy spokesperson said destroying the bridge now won't be as effective as it would have been earlier in the conflict. Ukraine has made a number of upgrades and improvements to its naval drones, including larger warheads, increased ranges, and outfitting them with missiles and rockets.

The naval drones have already been used to wreak havoc on Moscow's Black Sea Fleet, damaging and destroying numerous warships. In response, Russia has turned to barges and floating boom defenses to protect other high-profile sites around the Black Sea and Crimea.

Africk noted that “in terms of constructing defenses and defending key assets, I think Russia has realized that where they can't excel in quality of defenses, they should try and invest in quantity. We see that with these barges that are protecting” the bridge.

DroneXL's Take

The ongoing battle between Russia and Ukraine at the Kerch Bridge highlights the significant role that naval drones play in modern warfare. Ukraine's innovative use of these unmanned vessels has forced Russia to constantly adapt and bolster its defenses, often relying on cost-effective but potentially unreliable measures like barges and floating booms.

As Ukraine continues to upgrade its naval drone capabilities, it remains to be seen whether Russia's defensive measures will be sufficient to protect the strategically important Kerch Bridge. The conflict serves as a testament to the growing importance of unmanned systems in military operations and the need for nations to invest in both offensive and defensive capabilities in this rapidly evolving domain.


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Haye Kesteloo
Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews, and EVXL.co, for all news related to electric vehicles. He is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

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