Ukraine’s defense ministry has released footage of one of its Turkish-built Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) destroying two Russian patrol boats.
Released on May 2, the video shows likely the first engagement of a UAV on a naval asset in an operational real-world scenario.
The TB2 has so far amassed numerous kills against a range of Russian assets involved in the invasion of Ukraine. Reports also said one of them played a role in the successful attack on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet flagship RFS Moskva. However, this is the first time missiles launched from the drones actually sank naval assets.
As it released the footage, Ukraine’s defense ministry said the attack on two Project 03160 Raptor patrol boats took place in the vicinity of the now Russian-occupied Snake Island, which lies approximately 70 nautical miles off Odessa.
The footage also appears to have been taken early on May 2, according to the time stamp on the video. The missiles employed could have been the MAM-L, which were tested by the Turkish Navy during an exercise last year. The missile weighs 22 kg and has a range of 15 km. According to Roketsan, the missile’s developer, it is suited for use against main battle tanks, light armored vehicles, and personnel.
What the video shared by the defense ministry shows is the missile’s capability to hit targets moving at significant speeds, as the hit on the second of the two boats shows.
The Bayraktar TB2 UAVs has been in service with the Ukrainian Army since April 2021, after first units were ordered in 2019.
The Bayraktar TB2 is a medium-altitude long-endurance UAV (MALE UAV) capable of conducting surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tasks and combat missions using guided missiles carried on four pylons under the wings.
TB2s delivered to the Ukrainian Navy in 2021 are an upgraded version, with a range of 300 kilometers, instead of the 150 kilometers range featured by previous models.
A day after the destruction of the coastal patrol boats, Ukraine’s armed forces released a compilation showing Ukrainian Navy TB2s destroying a multitude of targets.