Promising directions for the creation of third-generation combat equipment
The development of modern and the substantiation of the prospects for improving the equipment of military personnel is proclaimed one of the priority tasks of the state in terms of modernization and re-equipment of the RF Armed Forces. This approach is not accidental, since equipment is one of the most important components of ensuring the combat capability of soldiers, increasing their survivability and saving thousands of lives.
The leading countries of the world are currently conducting extensive experimental and theoretical research in the field of equipment with the aim of dramatically increasing the capabilities of the individual soldier on the battlefield.
In general terms, modern combat equipment can be represented as a complex integrated system that functionally unites elements of the subsystems of destruction, protection, control, life support and energy supply (see diagram).
In the leading NATO countries, within the framework of national programs, research and development work (R&D) is carried out in order to improve the existing and create new equipment for military personnel, including within the framework of the "soldier of the future" program. Priority areas are the widespread use of new materials and technologies for the development of promising wearable weapons, a unified information field, reducing the weight of a set of uniforms and equipment, increasing protective properties and wear resistance, ensuring comfortable conditions during prolonged wear, as well as reducing the cost of serial samples.
In the work on the creation of combat equipment for military personnel, a significant increase in the aiming rate of fire of wearable weapons, damaging the action of bullets and shrapnel, and an improvement in instrumental and sighting equipment can be traced. Significant improvements concern means of reconnaissance of small targets through the use of short-pulse radar, made on the basis of the use of nanotechnology. The use of neurosystems in the instrument and sighting complex of a 21st century soldier will reduce its mass by a factor of five to seven, and its energy consumption by up to ten times. The stealth of targets will increase due to the complex of adaptive blackout. A significant increase in the ballistic protection of military personnel is associated with the development of a new ceramic material using nanopowders.
The main trend in work to improve the equipment systems of the advanced countries of the world in the 21st century is associated with the development of new generation weapons and military equipment, equipped with intelligent control facilities, with an increased degree of autonomy, reliability and quality of functioning in various conditions of a combat situation and the impact of the external environment and being one of the most important elements in the concept of network-centric warfare.
National programs for the development of technologies for the "soldier of the future" are funded abroad: Land 125 (Australia), African Warrior (South Africa), Warrior 2020 (Finland), Felin (France), JdZ (Germany), Soldato Futuro (Italy), Combatiente Futuro (Spain), Soldier Modernization Program - SMP (Netherlands), NORMANS (Norway), Soldado do Futuro (Portugal), Advanced Combat Man System (Singapore), IMESS (Switzerland), MARKUS (Sweden), ANOG (Israel), FIST (UK), BEST (Belgium), Projekt TYTAN (Poland), 21st Century soldier (Czech Republic), F-FINSAS (India), Integrated Soldier System Project (Canada) and Future Force Warrior (USA) and others.
An analysis of these programs shows that their goal is to dramatically increase the combat effectiveness of an infantryman in the 21st century. The programs provide for the full integration of the infantryman into the system of his combat unit in order to increase efficiency in general.
It is expected that the R&D carried out in the field of creating promising combat equipment for military personnel of the 21st century based on the introduction of high technologies in the near future (5-10 years) will make it possible to achieve a qualitative leap in the combat effectiveness of military personnel and a significant increase in the effectiveness of tactical units in general.
In Russia, the development of military equipment for military personnel (hereinafter referred to as BEV) is carried out within the framework of the Target program of work in the field of wearable weapons, equipment and special equipment of the RF Armed Forces and other troops until 2015. The program is being implemented in stages.
The first stage (1999-2005), which provided for the development of the first generation equipment, has been completed. As a result, a basic set of individual equipment "Barmitsa" was created, which, according to the characteristics of the main elements, was at the level of the best foreign analogues and was the basis for the formation of sets of equipment for military personnel of various specialties. Body armor and armored helmets have been developed that more fully meet the requirements for protective characteristics from shrapnel and bullets.
However, the basic set of individual equipment for military personnel slightly exceeds the permissible load per person.
In addition, the armor-piercing effect of bullets of domestic small arms was insufficient due to the appearance of new bulletproof vests abroad. Servicemen are not provided with reliable and modern means of communication, navigation and aiming.
These shortcomings are supposed to be eliminated in the second generation BEV kits, which are being developed as part of the Ratnik development work (ROC) since December 2011.
As a result, a set of individual combat equipment of the second generation will be created, which will ensure parity with foreign counterparts. Based on the use of existing technologies, it is planned to increase the armor-piercing effect of ammunition and the protective characteristics of the kit. At the same time, radio communication will improve by increasing the speed of data exchange and the characteristics of recognizing typical targets. Means of protection against the damaging factors of weapons of mass destruction with improved protective properties will be created. It is also possible that the weight of the wearable part of the kit can be reduced from 30 to 24-25 kilograms. Due to the above improvements, it is expected to increase the efficiency of military operations by at least 1, 2 times and reduce irrecoverable losses on the battlefield.
However, already in the near future, second-generation equipment kits will not fully meet the constantly increasing requirements of the troops, in addition, new technological opportunities appear for the development of BEV.
The Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences is actively involved in research in the field of equipment improvement. Based on the generalization of the experience of warfare, analysis of available information and previously conducted research, the Academy outlined some development prospects and formed views on the main problems of creating combat equipment for third generation servicemen.
Justification of the technical appearance
An analysis of research in the development of protective equipment carried out in recent years shows that the main directions of improving personal body armor (NIB) are improving ergonomics, creating promising ballistic materials and armor protective structures of a new generation, which make it possible to increase the level of protection of a serviceman from modern damaging elements, means thermobaric and high-explosive action, and reducing their weight. In the third generation equipment, an important direction will be the provision of comprehensive protection of military personnel from weapons of mass destruction and non-traditional means of destruction that are currently being actively developed.
The most promising direction is the creation of a new generation of high-strength materials developed on the basis of nanotechnology, including for elements of bullet and anti-fragmentation protection, and for adaptive camouflage against the surrounding background. This can reduce the mass of small arms, melee weapons and personal body armor by one and a half to two times, as well as reduce the visibility of military personnel in various wavelength ranges from radio and optoelectronic reconnaissance equipment.
To provide timely and high-quality medical care to a serviceman, to maintain and preserve his health, it is advisable to more widely use biomedical technologies for human life support and protection, the introduction of which, with sufficient attention to this problem, is supposed to be carried out in the process of their readiness and mainly in the third generation EW.
It should be noted that extensive experimental and theoretical studies are being carried out in the leading countries of the world, in which special attention, simultaneously with the development of destruction and protection systems, is paid to the necessary coordination of the actions of military personnel in the performance of combat missions and thereby increasing the effectiveness of achieving the goals of combat operations.
The management system is of great importance to increase the effectiveness of the subdivisions' actions. To improve it, first of all, it is necessary to create a portable multifunctional tablet that provides communication, transmission and reception of audio and video data, orientation and topography, work with external terminal devices and work in the local network of the control system and in the network of the unified control system of the tactical level.
Many issues need to be resolved to improve the life support system of military personnel, for example, to introduce biotechnology into medicines and food.
One of the important areas is the introduction of biomechanical technologies to maintain the muscular capabilities of a person (unloading clothes, exoskeletons). In particular, the development and inclusion of exoskeletal structures into the BEV. It is believed that they will provide a manifold increase in the physical capabilities of the soldier. So, when testing an experimental model of an exoskeleton abroad, it was found that the human effort expended is reduced by about eight times. In this case, no noticeable limitation of the natural mobility of the operator was noted.
For soldiers moving on foot, a robot vehicle can carry weapons, ammunition and other cargo. For example, in the United States, a "unit walking support system" has been developed, which remarkably accurately reproduces the locomotion of an animal moving by means of four legs. He can go where no other car will pass.
In the long term, in order to increase the effectiveness of means of destruction, combat robotic weapon systems will be created. It is believed that the introduction of robots into the practice of troops is a matter of the near future. Full-scale research is being carried out abroad in this area. For example, at the Global Future 2045 international congress, the US Department of Defense and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) announced the launch of the Avatar project. It represents the idea of the digital human being. At the heart of this project is work to create a model of the human brain. The ultimate task is to recreate or even transfer the individuality of a particular person into a completely artificial carrier. The avatar will be controlled through the neural interface. It is a humanoid robot with a brain control system - a computer that is supposed to be used in military operations. The purpose of this development is to enable robots to act as a surrogate soldier. The available information confirms that the creation of a robot avatar is not fiction.
According to preliminary calculations, the implementation of the above (not counting exotic) directions for improving equipment can provide an increase in the effectiveness of the combat missions of lower-level units by one and a half to two times. It should be noted that the above directions cannot yet serve as a basis for conducting full-scale research on the creation of third-generation equipment due to their qualitative nature, and the existing scientific and technical groundwork for substantiating quantitative parameters is not enough.
Naturally, the necessary scientific and technical groundwork can be created only within the framework of comprehensive research work in this thematic area. New research is needed primarily to substantiate the equipment system, its structure, composition, appearance and basic tactical and technical requirements.
The relevance of such studies is largely determined by the fact that the existing approaches and methods for assessing the technical level of products are not focused on a full-scale assessment and do not provide a full account of the factors associated with the specifics of the problems being solved. So, in connection with the wearing of personal body armor by servicemen, it is necessary to clarify some criteria for assessing the effectiveness of the actions of lower-level units operating in dismounted orders. In addition, in the course of research, it is necessary to develop a software-modeling apparatus for assessing the effectiveness of both the equipment system in general and the systems of small arms, aiming, control and armor protection systems in particular. As a result, it will be possible to assess the sets of equipment according to the criterion "efficiency-cost".
The need for research is also determined by the fact that the organizational and staff structure of subunits and units, the organization and procedure for their interaction have already changed, the forms and methods of conducting combat operations are changing. In addition, a detailed consideration of the issues of equipping with new, including unconventional means of destruction, control and protection of military personnel when they operate on an urbanized territory is required and a justification of the system of destruction of grassroots units is required. The ongoing research should also take into account the features of the new technological paradigm, which is characterized by the rapid pace of development of the latest technologies, especially in the field of nano-, bio- and cognitive technologies, microsystem technology, robotics and biomechanics. The implementation of the latest technology advances can contribute to a qualitative improvement in the characteristics of all equipment.
Thus, on the basis of previous studies, it was established that the use of promising technologies will allow solving a number of currently existing scientific and technical issues and will ensure the possibility of meeting modern requirements for elements and sets of military individual combat equipment for the period up to 2020. For example, it will be possible to cope with the most important problem of reducing the weight of the wearable part of the equipment to 16-18 kilograms.
Having solved the primary task, in the future, it is advisable to carry out all work in the field of creating third-generation equipment according to a program that more vividly reflects a single scientific and technical policy.
For developers, the creation of promising sets of combat equipment is fraught with considerable technical and organizational difficulties. Firstly, due to the large number of combined elements included in the kit, and secondly, the number of items of equipment is constantly increasing. For example, in the next 5-10 years, it is expected to equip servicemen with non-traditional types of weapons. Obviously, these difficulties are easier to solve through well-coordinated efforts of science, industrial enterprises, customers and consumers, and on the basis of an integrated approach as an important element in the implementation of the concept of network-centric warfare in terms of reliable information support for rank-and-file servicemen and commanders. It seems that a platform for consolidating efforts in the field of improving equipment will be in demand at the interdepartmental level as well.
The main problematic scientific and technical issue of creating third generation combat equipment is the still existing general lag of the domestic industry in the field of microelectronic technology, micromechanics, special chemistry, electrochemistry and materials science. Thus, it is also necessary to accelerate the development of the technological capabilities of the defense industry and other industries of the country.
Based on the foregoing, it is reasonable in the near future to substantiate the structure, composition and technical appearance of the combat equipment of the third generation servicemen, and in the future to envisage a number of interrelated studies within the framework of the corresponding program.
It is also advisable to determine in the Russian Ministry of Defense an organization responsible for coordinating work in the development, production and operation of combat equipment.
One of the organizations capable of fulfilling these tasks and ensuring methodological coordination of work in the field of development of combat equipment at a new level, in our opinion, may be the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences due to its unique scientific potential on a wide range of military-technical problems, including number of interspecific and interdepartmental nature.