Russia’s unmanned “Iron Legion”
Everyone must be deeply impressed by the various robots in the American science fiction movie “Star Wars”. Nowadays, with the rapid development of science and technology, the combat robots in the movies are no longer human fantasy. They have stepped onto the battlefield and started to perform the established combat missions.
In recent years, limited by its economic level and comprehensive strength, Russia has focused its military strength growth on high-end technological fields such as artificial intelligence, and combat robots are typical representatives. Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a statement stating that “whoever can become the leader in the field of artificial intelligence may dominate the world”, and put the development of combat robots into the ranks of priority development. In recent years, the Russian army has successively issued development plans such as the “Special Outline for Research and Development of Future Military Robot Technology and Equipment by 2025”, “National Development Strategy for Artificial Intelligence Before 2030”, and “Future Russian Military Robot Application Concept”, which clarified the research and development priorities of combat robots . At the same time, Russia has also established the National Robot Technology Development Center and the Robot Technology Research and Experiment Center of the Ministry of Defense to coordinate and supervise the research and development of combat robot technology. The Russian Ministry of Defense has also established a development committee directly led by the Minister of Defense, which consists of land, sea, and air combat robot development institutions, design, procurement and other departments.
In fact, some Russian combat robots have been verified on the battlefield and have achieved good results. In December 2015, in order to speed up the war process and completely eliminate the anti-government armed forces, the Russian army deployed combat robots on the Syrian battlefield to cooperate with the Syrian government forces. These include 4 tracked “Platform-M” combat robots, 2 wheeled “Argo” combat robots and several drones. These unmanned equipment used the “Andromeda-D” automated command system as a hub to conduct coordinated operations, and finally eliminated more than 70 anti-government militants at the cost of injuring 4 people, achieving a great victory.
Due to the excellent performance of the “Iron Warrior” on the battlefield, the Russian army has a soft spot for combat robots. In the “Western-2021” strategic battle exercise in 2021, the Russian army will put various combat robots into battle together with the army’s armored equipment. Battle robots such as the upgraded “Platform-M”, “Nerrekhta River” and “Uranus-9” all participated in drills in different scenarios. They can work under remote control, and can also carry out reconnaissance and attack the enemy autonomously.
For the modern army, drones and robotic systems will play a pivotal role, and the Russian army is making great strides in this direction. In recent years, the Russian army has developed a new combat robot system and tested it in exercises and actual combat. The various training grounds of the “Western-2021” strategic campaign exercise are an excellent place to test robotic systems and drones. It can be seen that the Russian army is actively exploring the actual combat tactics of combat robots, and allowing more “steel warriors” to join the future battlefield has gradually moved from a concept to a reality.
Different “Iron Warriors”
In recent years, the Russian army has made many achievements in the development and application of combat robots, especially the army combat robots. The lightest of them is about 1 ton, and the heaviest is about 14 tons. They can complete patrol, reconnaissance, tracking, interception, Attack and other tasks. In addition, Russia also has robots that look like military dogs and can run fast. They can be used to transport ammunition and supplies to the front line. The forklift robot can return the wounded on the battlefield with a bucket to the rear. Among the “Iron Warriors” with their own characteristics, the leading star “Platform-M”, the tank terminator “Uranus-9” and the rising star “Marker” battle robot have attracted much attention.
Master Huadan “Platform-M” combat robot
The “Platform-M” robot was developed by the Russian Institute of Advanced Science and Technology in 2014. In June of that year, the Russian Baltic Fleet used the “Platform-M” combat robot for the first time during exercises in the Kaliningrad region. During the exercise, the “Platform-M” combat robot carried out attacks on fixed and moving targets to demonstrate the elimination of imaginary enemies in an urban environment.
”Platform-M” combat robot is a crawler-type ground platform with light weight and small size. It is 1.6 meters long, 1.2 meters high, weighs about 800 kilograms, travels at a speed of 8 kilometers per hour, and can climb a steep slope of 25 degrees. , can cross the 21 cm high obstacle. The weapon system includes a 7.62 mm caliber machine gun with 400 rounds of ammunition; 4 RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launchers with an effective range of 250 meters and a vertical armor thickness of 500 mm, which can destroy living forces and light armored targets. When encountering a difficult target, the “Platform-M” combat robot can also send target information back to the rear, and activate large-caliber weapons to destroy the target. During combat, the “Platform-M” combat robot can approach the enemy’s fortifications to attract firepower and play a suppressive role. When used for reconnaissance missions, it can find and destroy stationary and moving targets. The “Platform-M” combat robot can also provide fire support for troops, patrol and protect important facilities. Equipped with electro-optical and radar reconnaissance systems, the robot can also provide guidance for weapons, track and attack targets in automatic and semi-automatic control modes.
Tank Terminator “Uranus-9” battle robot
The “Uranus-9” combat robot was developed and manufactured by Russia’s No. 766 Production Technology Company. It is mainly used for reconnaissance, anti-terrorism and street fighting fire support in urban environments. “Uranus-9” weighs 12 tons, is 5.12 meters long, 2.53 meters wide, and has a height of 2.5 meters including the turret. The fastest speed is 35 kilometers per hour. The “Uranus-9” combat robot uses a crawler chassis, equipped with a 30mm caliber 2A72 cannon and a 7.62mm caliber machine gun, and four 9M120 “attack” anti-tank missiles are erected on both sides of the turret. The fully armed “Uranus-9” combat robot can also mount another 6 rocket launchers in the upper middle position, and the missile launcher can also move up and down. The “Uranus-9” combat robot is equipped with a laser locking alarm system and an active defense system. After being locked by an enemy anti-tank missile, it will automatically release interference information and take evasive actions.
The Russian military attaches great importance to this ground combat platform, which aims to provide strong front-line reconnaissance perception and fire strike capabilities. The conventional combat organization of the “Uranus-9” combat robot includes two unmanned combat vehicles, a trailer for transporting them and a mobile command platform. Soldiers can control the “Uranus-9” combat robot from a distance of 3,000 meters through the mobile command platform. The anti-tank missiles it carries are enough to destroy any solid tank. Therefore, the “Uranus-9” combat robot is also called the tank terminator by the Russian media. The Russian Army took the lead in forming the world’s first armored force composed entirely of unmanned combat vehicles in 2021. This force is mainly equipped with the “Uranus-9” combat robot, with a total of 20 combat vehicles. To this end, the Russian Army has also established a “Uranus-9” combat robot operator training center.
Rising Star “Marker” Battle Robot
The “Marker” combat robot is one of the most promising Russian military-technical projects. It is a tracked or wheeled combat vehicle that can carry a variety of weapon modules. It was developed by the Russian Robot Technology Scientific Production Joint Company. The project was launched in March 2018, and the “Marker” combat robot was first revealed in October 2019. debut.
The robot has a total weight of about 3 tons. The weapon systems that can be carried include 12.7mm large-caliber machine guns, 33/35/40mm caliber grenade launchers, light anti-tank missiles, reconnaissance/attack rotor drones, etc., with high-precision shooting ability. In addition, the “Marker” combat robot is equipped with target detectors, thermal sensors, day/night infrared cameras and other equipment, and has human-like cognitive capabilities such as environmental information perception, autonomous route planning, and target tracking. The robot can respond autonomously according to the type of target, adopting electronic suppression and rope net capture measures against drones; conducting multi-type weapon coordinated fire damage to ground targets; shouting warnings and non-lethal weapon attacks to intruders, and even dispatching unmanned drones. machine to drive away or attack.
In October 2021, the Russian army conducted a cluster combat test, consisting of three wheeled and two tracked “marker” combat robots to form a combat cluster. In the test, the robot battle group completed tasks such as assigning targets within the group, entering the best fire position, independently responding to rapidly changing combat situations, and exchanging target instructions without manual intervention.
The new generation of land warfare “darling”
The “Steel Legion” has no human emotions, such as anxiety, depression, fear, etc., does not need to bend over or lie down during explosions and shooting, and does not have to consider casualties. Soldiers can control the battle from thousands of miles away and complete the corresponding tasks combat missions. It is hard to imagine what it will be like to encounter the “Steel Legion” on the future battlefield. These “warriors” respond quickly, tirelessly, cooperate with each other, and have powerful firepower. Any opponent fighting against them is like a nightmare. Undoubtedly, the traditional combat mode is already difficult to parry in front of the combat robot, and the combat robot will soon become the subversive of the combat mode.
At present, Russia has been at the forefront of the world in the field of combat robots. The main reasons are: first, in the Soviet era, the military started to explore artificial intelligence technology, and Russia’s artificial intelligence technology has always been in a dominant position; second, Russia The aging of the population is very serious, and the shortage of soldiers has become a major problem. In order to avoid the decline in military strength due to the decrease in the number of soldiers, it is imperative to replace soldiers with robots. In recent years, the Russian army has continuously increased its research and development capabilities in the field of combat robots and gradually expanded its production scale. In 2013, the Russian Ministry of Defense established a robotics technology research and experiment center, which is responsible for leading the R&D and production of military robots; in 2014, a robot development plan was formulated and passed, and it was proposed to establish an independent military robot company in each military region. It is estimated that by 2025, robot equipment will account for more than 30% of the entire weaponry and military technical equipment; formed troops.
Since 2019, Russia has received applications from several foreign customers to purchase combat robots, including the “Uranus-9” combat robot and the “Shturm” combat robot developed based on the “T-72B3” tank. It can be seen that Russian combat robots have entered the international stage strongly, and may become the “darling” of the new generation of land warfare. In addition, Russia will not only mass-produce more combat robots, but also better integrate them into the modern combat system, so as to give full play to the advantages of “unmanned” and “manned” cooperative operations, and prepare well for the era of robot warfare. Prepare.