Russia unveils its newest USVs at the Fleet-2024 International Maritime Defence Show

Nick Morris

At the International Maritime Defence Show (IMDS) “Fleet-2024”, held in Kronstadt from June 19 to 23, the latest Russian unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) were unveiled

JSC Rosoboronexport (part of the Rostec state corporation) demonstrated its USVs “Orkan”, uncrewed boats BEC-1000 and “Vizir” at the exhibition. These devices are the basic platforms for creating naval robotic systems.

The “Orkan” (in the opening photo) is the most compact naval drone presented; with a length of 5.3 metres, a width of 1.7 metres and a height of 0.8 metres, it can accommodate a target load for various purposes. It can operate in waves up to State 3. The fuel capacity is 100 litres.

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The BEC-1000 USV can carry various types of payloads weighing up to 1,000 kg. The hull is 7 metres long, it has a 2.5 metres beam, it can reach a maximum speed of 40 knots, and has a range of at least 500 km.

With the same size of the previous USV, 7 metres length and its 2.5 metres width, the “Vizir” is capable of speeds of up to 45 knots, its range being up to 270 miles. The “Vizir” was developed by specialists from the Military-Industrial Holding KMZ (Kingisepp Machine-Building Plant) and is a multifunctional uncrewed vehicle that can be used not only for military purposes, but also for civilian purposes, for transporting casualties and evacuating people.

The “Vizir” can be equipped with a radar to detect objects on the surface. This USV has successfully passed tests and will be put into serial production before the end of this year. According to a KMZ representative, the product is made entirely from domestic components, including software and materials.

During the exhibition Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheev said that the company offers foreign partners cooperation in building network-centric systems with integrated uncrewed boats and autonomous USVs, as well as in introducing the concept of conducting over-the-horizon operations using Russian robotic systems.

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JSC “Concern Morinformsystema – Agat” (part of the Marine Instrumentation Corporation, KMP) presented the USV “Labyrinth”. The “Labyrinth” is a floating platform with increased unsinkability for operation in large reservoirs, rivers and coastal waters, which can perform the functions of an integrated robotic system. This platform can operate autonomously as well as under operator control in a control network.

The complex with the “Labyrinth” USV includes channel-forming communication equipment, navigation aids, a ground command and control station, motion and technical vision sensors. Navigation is carried out using global satellite systems GPS and GLONASS, as well as an inertial navigation module. The device is equipped with a gyro-stabilized video system with the ability to transmit a video stream in real time.

This USV has a length of 2.95 metres, a width of 1.19 metres, a weight without payload of 272 kg, and can carry a 100 kg payload. The maximum speed is at least 20 knots, the cruising range being over 250 km. The device can operate in Sea State 3.

As stated by Rosoboronexport, these newest USVs presented in Kronstadt aroused interest among representatives Southeast Asian and African nations.

The first demonstration of the newest USVs at the Fleet-2024 naval salon indicates that Russia is aiming at occupying a worthy niche in the global market for multi-purpose uncrewed surface vessels, not to mention equipping the Russian Navy with these boats, the existence of which, according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, admiral Alexander Moiseev, “is impossible without the use of unmanned systems.”

Photos by N. Morris