Russia Developing Extended-Use, Under-Ice Aquatic Drone – The Defense Post

Russia’s Lazurit Central Design Bureau has teamed up with defense concern Almaz-Antey to develop an unmanned underwater vessel (UUV) capable of running 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.

Almaz-Antey deputy general director 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 – these are power plants and equipment that will complete the construction of this device.”


The Sarma is outfitted with precision navigation equipment, a communication system, and a range of equipment to help it perform under water. 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 physical and technical research direction of the Advanced Research Fund (FPI) Viktor Litvinenko told the Moscow-based outlet, “The Sarma UAV is being created for long-term operation under the ice. Today we do not know any analogues with the ability to work for about three months without surfacing.” 

Potential Uses

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