Soldiers to order

Table of contents:

Soldiers to order
Soldiers to order

War robots get rid of alien elements

At one time, about five billion rubles were spent on the development of unmanned aerial vehicles in Russia, but we were forced to purchase UAVs abroad. When will we have modern robotic systems (RTC) of various profiles, not inferior to the best world standards?

We found ourselves in the role of catch-up only because we took up seriously the creation of military-purpose robotic systems relatively recently. Many samples still exist only in experimental specimens, and serial deliveries to the RF Armed Forces are very rare.

They are so non-standard …

For a long time in Russia there were not even uniform standards for the development of RTK. Many of those that were proactively created by the "defense industry" still have foreign components, which, under Western sanctions, calls into question the very meaning of the production of "import-contaminated" systems.

"A fire provocateur can conduct hostilities on its own, but the main thing is to open up camouflaged enemy firing points and, together with a special forces group, effectively suppress them."

By and large, the matter is in the permanent crisis of the high-tech sector of our defense industry, which does not produce or produces in a limited number small-sized jam-resistant navigation systems with high autonomy, capable of solving problems in conditions of suppression of satellite communication channels, sensors of various physical principles of action for obtaining information, a component base of optical - electronic means, specialized systems for ground processing, storage and display of data, as well as many other things, without which it is impossible to create modern military equipment.

What's in the way? Problems - both organizational and legal, as well as scientific and technical, discrepancy in the activities of various ministries and departments, low level of justification of requirements for promising RTKs, lack of unification of military RTKs, limited modern testing facilities, lack of qualified specialists.

Almost all robotic systems that have recently been created by the domestic industry have been developed without taking into account the specific requirements of the military. And yet there are examples of some interest. For their production, the Ministry of Defense organized the preparation of a concept for the use of military-grade RTKs, as well as a comprehensive target program for creating promising military robotics until 2025 with a forecast until 2030. Together with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Rosstandart, the development of military GOSTs is continuing, establishing uniform requirements for defense and special robotics.


In 2013, the Main Research and Testing Center for Robotics was established in the structure of the GUNID of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. It solves the tasks of supporting the development of military-purpose RTKs. Interaction with MSTU named after V. I. Bauman, MAI, the interdepartmental working group of the Military-Industrial Commission. On orders from the Ministry of Defense, a complex of research works was carried out to improve the basic technologies of military robotics and create experimental samples of remotely and autonomously controlled ground-based RTK VN of various classes: for remote demining, reconnaissance and observation, evacuation of the wounded and providing them with first aid. Since 2013, the development of a multifunctional RTK based on a small and medium chassis has been started to support the combat operations of the Land Forces and Airborne Forces.

Currently, the RF Armed Forces are armed (supplied) with complexes with different ranges, various target loads for monitoring the underlying surface, conducting aerial (electronic) reconnaissance, detecting enemy targets, adjusting artillery fire and issuing target designation to fire weapons; ground-based RTKs for radiation and chemical reconnaissance, as well as transportation of radio-emitting objects.

Robot item with a robotic face

After the imposition of sanctions, the situation deteriorated sharply, it became more difficult to provide the RF Armed Forces with modern robotics. What kind of import substitution can we boast of today?

Some samples of the RTK, perhaps, were last shown in September 2014 in Krasnoarmeysk near Moscow, where a military-industrial conference was held. The robotic complex "Platform-M" (Scientific Research Technological Institute "Progress", Izhevsk) became, perhaps, the first and so far the only one adopted for the supply of special-purpose units of the Russian army. It meets the technical requirements set by the RF Ministry of Defense and is intended for reconnaissance and combat activities in conditions of fire resistance. The first TK for this RTK was formulated in 2008, and deliveries began in 2013. Several prototypes have been developed. At first, the wheelbase seemed to be insufficiently effective for the RF Ministry of Defense, so the RTK was switched to a caterpillar track. The first "Platform-M" was armed with one machine gun. Now added four grenade launchers with the ability to fire both single and volley. The class of protection against bullets and shrapnel has been increased, optical and radio channels have been created.

Soldiers to order
Soldiers to order

“This machine is a fire provocateur on the battlefield. It can conduct hostilities on its own, but most importantly, it opens camouflaged enemy firing points and, when jointly with a special forces group, can effectively suppress them,”Andrey Zorin, Director General of the Progress Research Technological Institute, told the VPK observer. - She is in brigade combat formations and is controlled by one operator (sergeant or contract soldier). But it needs a means of transportation, since the weight is more than 680 kilograms. Deliveries for the RF Ministry of Defense have been established."

According to Zorin, today the institute is actively working on the creation of RTKs operating in different environments at the same time. They are a system that includes a UAV, a ground robot, control equipment, and sensor systems. “In the small class of drones, we are no longer lagging behind Israel, or even surpassing,” Zorin assured optimistically. - It's just that for many years we did not pay attention to the RTK, we were not given TK, funding was not allocated. More or less normal work began only in the 2000s”.

Another robot designed for mine clearance, Uran-6, is undergoing partial operation at the RF Ministry of Defense. Existing in only a few copies, he nevertheless has already visited hot spots in the North Caucasus, where he showed himself on a good side.

Of interest is also a remotely controlled combat module, which is armed with a 30-mm automatic cannon, a 7.62-mm machine gun and is capable of hitting targets at a distance of up to four kilometers. Service and video information is transmitted via CAN 2.0, RS485, Ethernet, HD-DSI channels. Ammunition replenishment is carried out from inside the vehicle itself. And the control is remote, from an automated workstation. The operator has a ballistic computer and a control panel. But the Achilles heel of most domestic RTKs is still the same - imported components.

"Pear" is flying

The decision to develop a new attack drone was made after Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu attended the Paris Air Show 2013 International Aviation and Space Salon. The representative of the Israeli firm IAI then proudly demonstrated at Le Bourget the multipurpose unmanned aerial vehicle Xero, which covers long distances and can be used as a strike. Russia, alas, does not yet have such devices, and IAI seemed to be ready to sell them to us. But permission for deliveries must be pushed through the Israeli Defense Ministry, and only for Russia. This statement, apparently, slightly offended the head of our military department.

"Until you get permission, we will make such a device ourselves," Shoigu said sharply. But are we able to "catch up and overtake"? It's been two years now.

The DA-42 light-engine aircraft was presented at the stand with Diamond products. Representatives of the company told Sergei Shoigu that their products are the only ones in their class that fly on kerosene. It is twice as profitable as using gasoline. The aircraft are made with a wide use of composites and plastics, are very economical, their exhaust system works in such a way that the DA-42 is practically silent. It is also difficult to detect it with the help of infrared radiation. No wonder the DA-42 is widely used in Afghanistan and Iraq. There are planes equipped with special cameras for mapping and laser scanning systems, which allows you to take geodetic images with a resolution of up to 10 centimeters. And the screen displays picture 3 D.

Currently, the RF Armed Forces are equipped with complexes with short-range and short-range UAVs: "Pear", "Granat", "Leer", "Zastava" and others. Developments in this area are ongoing. In Krasnoarmeysk, for example, they showed a whole range of drones of various classes - "Rubezh-60". One of them, short-range, is designed for reconnaissance, photography, automatic target recognition. It is especially effective in mountainous areas and is equipped with a unique thermal imaging camera that allows it to recognize targets even in foliage.

It is more difficult with engines for such UAVs, since we do not have a small-scale motor-building school, and the one that existed was destroyed. But the state corporation "Rostec" has already created production and its own design bureau for their development. Work is underway on their engines and for heavy UAVs. According to Vladimir Kutakhov, Chief Engineer for Aviation Projects at Rostec State Corporation, so far they use a large number of elements of a foreign component base and the main task is to replace them with domestic counterparts.

In recent years, a number of other UAVs of various classes have appeared: "Geoscan 200", "Fregat", "Outpost". They not only shoot a television picture, but also process it in a three-dimensional model, conduct information suppression of the enemy.

Surprisingly, some Soviet models have survived to this day. For example, the Korshun heavy attack UAV of the Tupolev design, which at one time did not go into production, but, as I was told, still meets modern requirements in terms of its flight performance and has a great modernization potential. The combat load is one ton, that is, it can carry two five hundred kilogram bombs with laser guidance, the flight range is 900 kilometers. If the Korshun is equipped with modern electronic equipment, it will be able to solve the most difficult tasks.

They do not go on reconnaissance with them

On another site, they showed their capabilities for the development of military unit 68240 and the Research Institute of the Scientific and Educational Complex of Special Mechanical Engineering of the M. V. Bauman: "Varyag", "Vepr", "Top climber", "Tornado". They are designed for remote visual reconnaissance, search and disposal of explosive devices by destroying them or placing them in a special container. These complexes are capable of operating on rough terrain, in an urban environment, they are equipped with digital control systems, a communication channel, highly sensitive television cameras, microphones, telemetry sensors. RTK "Varyag" (weighs 60 kilograms, which is convenient for transportation) can move loads up to 10 kilograms. The Vepr has 170 kilograms of its own weight, and the corresponding carrying capacity is up to 50 kilograms. "Verkholaz" works on railway tracks with a manipulator and moves loads up to 300 kilograms. The mobile robotic complex MRK-VT1 "Shot" of the Izhevsk radio plant was created for work with explosive or explosive objects, has a chassis with a variable geometry of the tracked input, a cryogenic plant with liquid nitrogen, a multiple charge hydraulic breaker, a remote control. It can conduct a series of six hydrodynamic shocks, pre-cooling explosive objects to minus 180 degrees, which makes them as fragile as possible. The Izhevsk plant has been engaged in such complexes since 2010.

The robot "Tral Patrol 4.0" ("SMP-Robotics") has all-round cameras that allow performing the functions of guarding and patrolling the object in a fully automatic mode at any time of the year or day. And the remotely controlled platform-carrier of increased carrying capacity "Shatun" is the brainchild of the State Research Institute of Applied Problems. A distinctive feature is high cross-country ability, the ability to overcome obstacles when moving on land, to force water obstacles. It conducts reconnaissance, patrols the area, can strike openly located manpower and lightly armored enemy vehicles, and deliver goods. Its amphibious platform is equipped with a universal strike module with a 7.62 mm PKT machine gun. "Shatun" is equipped with a TV camera, thermal imager, laser rangefinder. The software allows you to determine the coordinates of the target, the initial settings for shooting. The RTK can be reinforced with three RPG-26 anti-tank grenade launchers or RShG-2 hand-held assault grenades.

Robots working in various environments can interact with each other on the battlefield, which was shown by RTK and UAVs developed by NITI Progress, in particular, Platform-M and Takhior UAVs, in detecting and destroying a mock enemy group. A mobile self-control complex based on a special armored chassis "Scorpion" ("Zashchita" corporation) is also capable of receiving intelligence from a drone and firing to kill.

RTK of the Kovrov Electromechanical Plant is fighting against shooters and snipers, including those located in shelters. It includes acoustic and electro-optical detectors of the enemy's position, combined with a fire control system. The communication range over radio channels is up to three kilometers. The modular design allows you to place machine guns, grenade launchers, anti-tank and missile systems.

An interesting robot "Orderly", which finds the wounded on the battlefield, he loads them onto a transport platform and takes them out from under fire.

The development of marine robots designed to survey the water area and search in the interests of the Ministry of Defense are at the final stage. All of them are produced by the enterprises of the Russian defense industry complex both under the state defense order and on an initiative basis. At the demonstration site of the FKP "Research Institute" Geodesy "13 robotic complexes of 18 Russian enterprises demonstrated their capabilities.

The "army" will answer for everything

As noted by the commission, which was headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, some RTKs look solid, modern, and most importantly, they can save people's lives when performing combat missions or in man-made disasters. Since 2014, the development of these high-tech machines has been attributed to the priorities of military construction, it is taken into account in the plans for the modernization of the military-industrial complex. The concept of using military-grade RTK for the period up to 2030 has been approved, R&D is underway, and the formation of a comprehensive target program for the creation of promising military robotics for the period up to 2025 is nearing completion.

But after the imposition of sanctions, it is necessary to revise some of the earlier decisions. It is more and more difficult to provide the RF Armed Forces with modern robotics. While there is a feeling that enterprises are trying to do everything at once, and this does not lead to the desired results. To solve the problem, it is proposed to form analytical centers on the basis of organizations and institutions of the Federal Agency for Scientific Organizations and the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia in support of the activities of military command and control bodies, create a Fund for Advanced Technologies, transfer the weapons programs to it, introduce the institute of general designer of robotic systems and complexes, switch to new principles for the formation of programs and lots based on the successful experience of the Russian Science Foundation and the Seed Fund. It is necessary to create centers of basic technologies on the basis of the leading enterprises of the military-industrial complex.

All these questions were brought up at the military-technical forum "Army 2015", which will take place on June 16-19 in Kubinka. It will focus on the key technologies for the development of the RTK.

In the meantime, despite the wishes voiced in Krasnoarmeysk a year ago, it seems that our lone designers are not united by a common idea and are doing what the market demands. And it does not always take into account the national interests of the country and defense tasks.

Popular by topic