Russia develops extended-use under-ice aquatic drone

Lazurit’s central design office in Russia has partnered with defense company Almaz-Antey to develop an unmanned submarine vessel (UUV) capable of operating under ice for up to three months, TASS revealed.

According to Interfax, a prototype of the Sarna drone under development will be ready this year, while serial production will begin in 2024.

Deputy Managing Director of Almaz-Antey Alexander Vedrov said: “The deadline for the prototype is this year. Next year we plan to move on to the creation of the head sample, and in 2023 – power plants and equipment will complete the construction of this device.


Sarma is team with precision navigation equipment, communication system and a range of equipment to help it operate underwater. TASS added that the UUV can dive up to 1 km (0.62 miles) and cover a distance of 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles).

Deputy head of the physical and technical research department of the Advanced Research Fund (FPI) Viktor Litvinenko told the Moscow-based outlet: “The Sarma drone is created for long-term operation under ice. Today we do not know of any analogue capable of working for about three months without surfacing.

Potential uses

The modular design of the UUV allows it to perform a range of tasks including ‘bottom surveying, bottom topography, monitoring long objects (gas pipelines), mapping, geological exploration, maintenance and repair of underwater communications in the oil and gas sector, etc. . … ” Interfax also included “maintenance of surveillance systems and under-ice lighting” as potential drone tasks.

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