“Russians don’t take a dump, son, without a plan”

As was once said to me by a Russian friend of mine, which the line by the way if you didn’t know was from the 1990 movie ‘The Hunt for Red October’.


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The reason I brought up that line is that, it pretty much explains the underlying motif of why Russia is working on a drone that is capable of imitating both a conventional and a nuclear-powered submarine at high speeds.

We both know that with the world moving into an age of drones, with the U.S. Army building their very own ‘Phaser’ that can take down an army of airborne drones, it is inevitable that the once Soviet nation would have their very own trump card, with this new Surrogat‘ drone.



Who’s designing the Surrogat?

This drone is currently being designed for the Russian Navy by the famous Rubin Design Bureau of Saint Petersburg.

In fact, they were the ones who designed those enormous Typhoon-class submarines that were deployed by the Soviet Navy way back in the 1980s.

Till today, the Typhoons are still the largest class of submarines ever to be built and they are large enough to accommodate decent living facilities for the crew when submerged for months on end.

Follow Here, if you need a ride. (You might not get a ride on an actual Typhoon, but you sure can get a ride of your lifetime)




How does the Surrogat work?

Surrogat, just how its name suggests, will imitate the sound of an enemy submarine using a host of towed array sonars and other features to help replicate a full-sized boat’s acoustic and electromagnetic signature.

If you don’t know what these are, don’t worry, I’ve added a few concise articles down below at the Further Reading section.

According to the Russian state media, the Surrogat will have a deployable trailing antenna, allowing it to

“realistically reproduce the physical fields of the enemy—the acoustic and electromagnetic.”




What are some of the specifications of Surrogat?

The autonomous unmanned Surrogat drone will feature a modular design with its size to be 55 feet long.

It is capable of operating for 15 to 16 hours at a time thanks to its inbuilt lithium-ion battery.

The Surrogat is set to weigh approximately 50 tons with a maximum diving depth of 600 meters.

Aside from that, it is also able to travel more than 600 miles at a time with a speed of 5 knots, where the maximum speed that can be reached “in excess of 24 knots.”




How could the Russian Navy use Surrogat?



I won’t be surprised if the Russian Navy deploys the Surrogat to hunt down NATO hunter-killer submarines that are tasked with destroying Russia’s ballistic missile submarines.

If it were to be played out, then it will be like a game of chess.

The Surrogat works like a pawn (a decoy) which the Russian Navy can use as a bait for the enemy’s trap.

As the opponent’s king (the enemy’s main line of attack) is busy with the pawn (the decoy) this gives away its own position.

The Russian Navy, from there, can checkmate the opponent’s king (the enemy’s main line of attack) by trapping it and finishing it off by ending the game.


Russian Drone Can Imitate Any Submarine
The Surrogat Concept of Operation. Note the trailable antenna you see in this picture is as long as the submarine it imitates.




The Last Resort

Another way, the Russian Navy can make use of it, is by programming the Surrogat to have the identity of their very own submarine.

I’ll explain.

Let’s say you are the commander of the Russian Navy and your submarine just got dealt a massive attack by the enemy.

What you can do from there on out, is by launching the unmanned, underwater drone, which has been programmed to have the identity of your submarine, and escape.

It is risky; since a submarine ain’t no small thing and the chances of the enemy falling for this are I would say 50/50.

Nevertheless, you can see the array of opportunities that presents for the Russian Navy to take advantage upon with the new Surrogat.





This is probably at the top of the To-Do list of the Russian Navy, as the Surrogat works as an effective tool to train the Russian submarine fleet during naval exercises.

Since the underwater drone could replicate the acoustic underwater signature of any number of NATO submarines, this provides a more realistic environment for the Russian submarine fleet to carry out their tactical exercises which helps prepare when the time comes.

The costs to carry out this training are lower too which means it can be carried out more often.

Rubin chief executive officer Igor Vilnit told Moscow-based TASS news agency that


“Today, combat submarines have to be involved for exercises or tests and this practice distracts them from carrying out their basic missions. The use of an unmanned imitator will help avoid this and cut the cost of drills. Besides, a submarine without a crew reduces risks while keeping simulated scenarios realistic,”

“This apparatus will be distinguished by its simplicity in operation and the low cost of its maintenance and upgrade. Now we’re holding consultations with Navy representatives to make the imitator fully meet the Navy’s requirements.”




Natural Resources

The prospect of deploying the Surrogat to carry out terrain mapping and reconnaissance when searching for natural resources proves beneficial too, especially for a country that is dependent on natural resources such as oil and natural gas which account for over 68% of its total export revenues.




Underwater Exploration

The Surrogat, which with its terrain mapping, can also be used for exploring the seabed, and it is an ideal option for the Russian Navy for underwater exploration in the waters under the Arctic.





Russia’s $15 billion-plus arms export industry has a 25% influence on the global sales of military arms and the prospect of this new underwater drone will only bring that numbers up.

They might get into the business of selling these underwater drones as the Rubin Bureau themselves said that they are not ruling out the possibility of foreign customers displaying an interest in Surrogat.


[graphiq id=”bBgevK4bood” title=”Russian Military Expenditure Over Time” width=”600″ height=”482″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/bBgevK4bood” link=”http://country-facts.findthedata.com/l/26/Russia” link_text=”FindTheData | Graphiq” ]




Battle for the Undersea 

You and I both know that there’s no doubt that Russia will win the battle for undersea dominance, if they manage to get the Surrogat to full scale development.

With Putin’s Russia seeking to project power with modern military, the Surrogat would be a powerful addition to the Russian arsenal and if it were to be used for missions that could further serve Moscow a much needed bolstering of their military capabilities.

To a much atrophied Russian submarine force that has only recently embarked on a journey of revival after its near collapse after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Mother Russia waits with the Surrogat, in hope to tip the playing field, with its imitation game.


Further Reading

Towed Array Sonars


Acoustic and Electromagnetic Signatures


 Follow me on Snapchat, and I’ll keep you updated with what’s going on every now and then. 🙂

Russian Drone Can Imitate Any Submarine