With Russia now blockading Ukraine from the Black Sea, combat on land could soon be spilling out into the water—and with it, the increased use of deadly aquatic weaponry.
This could even include a 'near-invisible' submarine drone that has an underwater rifle to open fire on divers.
The so-called Nerpa is a killer underwater drone that's designed to stop enemy special forces from attaching mines to ships underwater.
The latest model is reportedly being used by Russia's elite PDSS scuba units in its navy around the world.
The unmanned drone is designed to take the burden off of underwater diver patrols who usually perform gruelling sweeps for enemy mines under ships.
It could be used to protect Russian ships engaged in the Black Sea blockade, or even loaded with explosives and used as a 'suicide drone'.
Its 5.66mm underwater APS rifle has 26 dart-like rounds that can fire at a range of up to 30 metres. It's said to be inspired by the iconic Soviet Kalashnikov (or AK-47), but it loses range depending on the depth it is fired at.
The drone features a rear propellor as well as a sonar array that allows it to 'see' underwater.
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It's not the only underwater defence measure being deployed by the Russian navy. Russia has reportedly trained dolphins and seals to keep an eye on its warships in the Black Sea in the past ten years.
In 2014, the US Navy sent 20 dolphins and 10 sea lions on a NATO mission to train in an area dominated by the Russian navy.
Ukraine's dolphins meanwhile are reportedly said to have switched allegiance to Russia after the country took over Crimea.
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