Ukraine unleashing underwater exploding robots that will spark worry for Putin

Ukraine is set to unleash an army of explosive robot submarines against Russia’s navy.

The Toloka TLK-150, product of a new military-civilian partnership called Brave1, is understood to be the first ever underwater combat drone designed and built entirely in Ukraine

While the civilian-military partnership refused to give out many details to the Telegraph, analysts said that the new bit of kit was the “natural evolution of Ukraine's maritime drones," adding that the invading state now faces a "new problem."

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Unlike the unmanned surface vehicles Ukraine has previously used to fight against Russia’s navy, the new Toloka drone, which is roughly 8ft long, glides under the surface of the water, making it harder to spot, intercept and deal with.

One analyst, H I Sutton, said that as a result of this drone, Ukraine was now at the bleeding edge of naval drone warfare, adding that it will likely give their forces an edge over Russia.

"Being an underwater vehicle it is less prone to detection and harder to neutralise with gunfire," he said.

"Its warhead is also impacting below the waterline so may be more likely to sink its target."

The new drone is expected to enter service as soon as a few weeks time.

Brave1 said that it has plans to develop two more Toloka drones, up to five times larger, if this current version proves a success.

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The news comes just a week after the UK agreed to send Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which have a range of more than 250km (155 miles), which is the first known shipment of the weaponry that Kyiv has long sought from its allies.

It also comes shortly after the US agreed to train Ukrainian pilots on how to fly F-16 fighter jets, after spending months refusing to do so for fear of escalating the already bloody conflict.

Samuel Bendett, of the Centre for Naval Analysis in the US, said that the constant threat is already forcing Russian commanders to commit vital resources to guard their fleet.

"Russia claims to have a multilayered drone defence in Crimea, with nets, buoys, planes, helicopters, ship-based and shore-based batteries," he said. "This is a lot of resources dedicated to catching a small and relatively inexpensive surface vessel."


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