11 February 2018
Russian Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov-class frigates are to be equipped with unmanned submarine and surface vehicles. The matter is remotely controlled boats and standalone unmanned submersibles, a well-informed source told Mil.Press Today.
According to him, one of the trial stages for the submersible drones will start in the coming summer, and the whole testing program is to be completed early in 2019.
Russian Navy plans to use the submarine drones for mine countermeasures, sea bottom screening, and scientific researches. The unmanned boats would perform reconnaissance, patrol and examination missions, added the source.
"Moreover, the submarine and surface drones will be interconnected within a unified network-centric control system. The UK, Belgium and Netherlands are jointly developing similar concepts to equip new minesweepers", said the interviewee.
The submarine drone for Admiral Gorshkov has been already named, but designers keep it unannounced so far.
As for a scientist from the Bauman University, the most effective Russian organizations in the area of dual-use unmanned submersibles are the St. Petersburg State Marine Technical University, the MAKO consortium, and Oceanos.
Russian Navy used to purchase unmanned boats from French ECA Group that has supplied Inspector MkII drone boats and Seascan Mk2 anti-mine submersibles for the Project 12700 minesweepers. Even in the last summer, the French company planned to localize production of their mine defense craft in Russia, but the Navy renounced that idea later.
Similar to Inspector MkII in characteristics, the Typhoon-680 unmanned boat was designed by the Russian consortium Typhoon on the basis of the BL-680 fast-speed boat produced by Mnev & Co. Surprisingly, some declared parameters of the Russian boat surpass the French counterpart's ones.