Ukraine’s Uncrewed Raid on Sevastopol and the Future of War at Sea

Dr Sidharth Kaushal

2 February 2023

The use of uncrewed surface vessels by Ukraine to inflict damage on the Russian navy has attracted widespread attention. But does it really herald a new era of naval warfare as some are suggesting?

In late 2022, Ukraine launched an audacious raid on the Russian Black Sea Fleet using a combination of UAVs and uncrewed surface vessels (USVs). The innovative use of USVs as ‘suicide craft’ was of particular note to many commentators, with some heralding the attack as the portent of a new era in warfare at sea. While this is understandable, the significance of the attack should be caveated, and the use of autonomous capabilities set within a wider context.