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In an unusual modification, a Russian ballistic missile submarine has been spotted sporting what appears to be anti-drone armor. This marks the first time such a measure has been taken on a naval vessel anywhere in the world.

The Delta-IV class nuclear submarine Tula was recently shown on Russian television, revealing a cage-like structure surrounding its conning tower. This improvised armor, nicknamed a “cope cage” on land vehicles, is typically seen on tanks and other armored fighting vehicles in war zones.

Military experts believe this addition signifies Russia’s growing concern about the threat posed by Ukrainian drone attacks. Drones have proven surprisingly effective in the ongoing conflict, destroying and damaging Russian military equipment.

The effectiveness of this cage-like armor on a submarine is yet to be determined. Some analysts question its utility underwater, while others acknowledge it might offer some limited protection against small, commercially available drones.

The appearance of this unconventional defense measure highlights the evolving nature of modern warfare, where even underwater vessels are not immune to aerial threats. It remains to be seen if this will become a standard practice for the Russian Navy or a one-off adaptation.