The war in Ukraine has witnessed an array of incredibly ingenious and improvised weaponry — and this time, kayaks join ranks as war machines.

In a surprising and innovative move, the Ukrainian military has introduced tactical combat kayaks to their arsenal, aimed at bolstering their defense capabilities on rivers, streams, lakes, and other bodies of water. This latest addition, exemplified by the two-seater Poloz-M16 combat kayak, showcases Ukraine’s decisiveness to employ unconventional and resourceful methods to counter the Russian invasion. In the face of limited international support and a dire need for modern weaponry, Ukrainian forces continue to adapt and utilize innovative solutions that could shift the tide of battle.

Meet the Poloz-M16: Ukraine’s Combat Kayak

Dubbed the Poloz-M16, this combat kayak is at the forefront of Ukraine’s river warfare strategy. Videos and images circulating on social media capture Ukrainian troops testing the kayaks before deploying them to the front lines.

Accordingly, this versatile watercraft offers multiple means of propulsion – operators can silently glide through the water using oars or activate its “almost silent” electric motor for covert operations. This capability aligns perfectly with the need for stealthy maneuvers in river-born ambushes.

Furthermore, the Poloz-M16’s adaptability is a key feature. In situations where soldiers are handling heavy weapons, the modified kayak can be remotely controlled to navigate the waterways effectively.

One of the most remarkable features of this combat kayak is its UAG-40 40-millimeter automatic grenade launcher mounted on its nose. Capable of hitting targets over two kilometers away, this weapon adds a new dimension to river warfare, making it an effective tool for ambushing invading Russian forces.

Ukraine is actively pushing the limits of innovation by creating both single-seat and three-seat iterations of the Poloz-M16. While the two-seater version proudly accommodates a substantial load capacity of 480 kilograms, it’s crucial to emphasize that this kayak serves not only as a combat craft but also as a versatile companion during extended missions. It arrives equipped with indispensable tools for prolonged journeys, featuring a tent for shelter, a versatile machete for diverse tasks, and even stoves intended for cooking needs.

Key Advantages for Ukrainian Forces

The introduction of combat kayaks provides Ukrainian troops with a series of tactical advantages that could potentially reshape the dynamics of the conflict, including:

Stealth and Surprise: The ability to silently navigate waterways and launch ambushes provides Ukrainian forces with an element of surprise that can catch adversaries off guard.

Versatility: The combination of manual oars and an electric motor, along with remote control capabilities, allows for flexible and adaptable operations.

Will cyberwar tie into ground warfare?

Read Next: Will cyberwar tie into ground warfare?

(Image source: Twitter)

Precision Firepower: The inclusion of an automatic grenade launcher with impressive range enhances the Ukrainian military’s ability to engage and neutralize enemy targets from a safe distance.

Maneuverability: Combat kayaks offer a unique advantage in navigating challenging aquatic landscapes and circumventing conventional land-based defenses.

Adaptation and Resourcefulness: This unconventional approach showcases Ukraine’s determination to adapt and innovate, even in the face of limited resources.

Unconventional Warfare: Ukraine’s Response to Invasion

The recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia has highlighted Ukraine’s resourcefulness in the face of adversity. With an invasion and a lack of immediate international support, Ukrainian troops have resorted to unconventional and makeshift tactics to enhance their fighting capabilities, and the introduction of combat kayaks is just one example of its ability to make the most of available resources to create effective tools for defense.

Ukrainian forces have demonstrated their ingenuity through various means:

DIY Drone Warfare: Young Ukrainians, facing the scarcity of modern reconnaissance and attack drones, have taken matters into their own hands by constructing drones in makeshift workshops near the front lines. This new generation of guerrilla warfare showcases Ukraine’s ability to adapt and innovate with limited resources.

Weapon Repurposing: In response to Russia’s increasing reliance on combat drones, Ukrainian forces have repurposed conventional weaponry to counter these threats. Videos of AK-74 assault rifles firing at enemy drones depict the adaptive nature of Ukrainian soldiers.

Makeshift Armor: Ukrainian (and even some Russian forces) have turned to DIY solutions to enhance their armored vehicles’ survivability. This includes slat-armor cages, turret-cage armor, and even unconventional frontal “armor” made from materials such as pontoon bridges, birch trees, and scrap metal.


The inclusion of combat kayaks in Ukraine’s military strategy represents a significant step forward in their ongoing conflict against the Russian invasion. This innovative approach not only provides tactical advantages in river warfare but also symbolizes Ukraine’s resilience and resourcefulness in the face of adversity.

As Ukrainian forces continue to adapt and evolve their strategies, it remains evident that unconventional and makeshift solutions play a crucial role in countering modern threats and creating a more level playing field in the ongoing conflict. The combat kayaks, along with other innovative measures, could very well become a game-changer, potentially altering the course of the battle against the Russian invasion.