Russia’s first unmanned surface vessel, the Pioneer-M, will float at 2020

Photo Courtesy : TASS (Photo belongs to a minesweeper vessel of Project 12700 made by the same shipyard)

According to the statements of CEO of Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard which is located in northwest Russia, they plan to float out the country’s first ship with the “crewless navigation technology” in 2020. The breakthrough vessel “Pioneer-M” will operate all year round in the Black and Azov Seas, the chief executive said.

‘We will make the hull while the construction will be completed in Sevastopol. Now work is underway to finally approve the project. I believe we will float it out next autumn and then carry out trials next year. We will partially hold trials here, then float it out and check it, after which we will transfer it [to Sevastopol] for completing its construction,” he said.

Design History :

The Pioneer-M crewless vessel was designed by scientists of the Sevastopol State University, at the Department of Innovative Shipbuilding and Offshore Deposit Development Technology set up by the Corall Central Design Bureau.

The vessel’s construction will proceed at three shipyards of the United Shipbuilding Corporation. The Sredne-Nevsky Shipyard will carry out work to build the composite hull while specialists of the Sudokompozit enterprise in Crimea will focus on creating the vessel’s superstructure. The final assembly will take place at the Sevmorzavod Shipyard.

The crewless ship will be 25.7 meters long and 9 meters wide. It will be able to develop a speed of 10 knots and will displace 82 tonnes.

The project is being implemented with the support of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education, the United Shipbuilding Corporation and the Strategic Initiatives Agency. The project is being financed under the federal target program: “Research and Development in the Priority Areas of Developing Russia’s Scientific and Technical Potential in 2014-2020.” The United Shipbuilding Corporation is acting as the project’s industrial partner. Investment in the project totals 300 million rubles ($4.7 million).

What will her mission be?

Unmanned vessels are quite useful at many sides of naval warfare. Especially for the purpose of reducing the danger that the crew encounters, unmanned vessels could be used at hunting mines, establishing recognized maritime pictures of critical areas and etc. They also could be used to reduce the cost of floating a warship. But the efficiency of the vessel while conducting missions is the key issue.

Pioneer-M could be a breakthrough technology, but what will be its main mission? If it’s going to be used to patroling at littoral waters, what technology will it use? Is it going to be controlled from a controlling center? Will it use artificial intelligence in order to determine the priority of the patrol area? Surely such kind of vessels are the doors of technologies opening a new era of the war scene, but we need to see its performance at sea while conducting real missions in order to answer the questions in mind.