Sea Drone Found In Black Sea Is American Boat With Massive Soviet Warhead

Sea Drone Found In Black Sea Is American Boat With Massive Soviet Warhead - Merchant Navy Info - News

A mysterious maritime drone (USV) has been discovered in the Black Sea. The capsized ship had a U.S. Hull and a Soviet-era Russian warhead. The warhead is approximately 500 kg (1,100 lb),  more than twice the size of a Harpoon or Neptune missile. On April 3, 2024, an unusual maritime drone was spotted swimming upside down in Romanian waters. The new unmanned surface vessel (USV) is actually a U.S.-made a lifeboat converted into a drone. It was equipped with a large warhead, suggesting it was intended to attack ships and other naval targets. Romanian forces reportedly destroyed the boat in a controlled explosion on April 5. 

The incident was not initially made public, and when it was later reported in local media, few details were revealed. However, analysis of the ship solved the question of what it was, but new questions arose.  USV uses her AM-800 Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with an aluminum hull. Manufactured by Silver Ships in Alabama, USA. This boat was designed as a fire rescue or maneuver target and still has the original red paint on the underbody and inflatable collar. The  AM-800 is approximately 9. Five meters (31 feet) long, including the outboard Although still small,  it is almost twice as long as the Magura and Sea Baby USVs used by Ukraine. RIBs may be visible from greater distances. Its powerful warhead can compensate for this.

Powerful  Styx missile warhead

The warhead is from her P-20 Styx anti-ship missile. This is a Soviet-era weapon that, although still in use in Russia, is generally considered obsolete. However, it has a very powerful warhead, which is its main advantage Both Russia and Ukraine likely have easy access to this type of warhead. The warhead is mounted on a simple wooden frame on the foredeck of the boat. This is the “4G20” model, related to the variant of his P-20 export model of the Styx missile. Weighing almost 500 kg, the TGAG-5 explosive consists of  60% TNT, 20% RDX, 15% aluminum powder, and 5% anti-flame wax. For comparison, this is more than twice the size of the Harpoon anti-ship missile’s warhead. Interestingly, the Houthi movement also uses this type of warhead in some of its explosive USVs. 

There is no evidence of a direct connection to the new ships, as the Houthis were able to obtain these warheads from old Yemeni navy inventories. The front of the warhead has a shaped charge that creates a large hole in the ship before the main charge explodes, causing even more damage. This is called a grenade. The rocket-shaped charge is directed slightly downwards for maximum damage. However, in USVs, it is desirable to direct the shaped charge forward so that the entire warhead is mounted at an angle. Although a USV’s standoff explosion is less desirable than a missile’s penetrating attack, the size of the warhead makes this USV a formidable vehicle.

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