Advanced hardware for Ratnik ensemble to be tested before year-end

Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is planning to complete the tests of the new firearms for the 2nd generation Ratnik combat gear (Ratnik-2) before end-2017, military officials say. "The goal is to complete the operational evaluation and tests [OE&T] of new firearms, including the upgraded SVD Dragunov 7.62 mm sniper rifle [SVDM], the upgraded 9 mm special sniper rifle [VSSM] and the upgraded 12.7 mm anti-materiel sniper rifle [ASVKM]," the officials say.

All servicemen of Russia’s Airborne Force will be provided with the Ratnik combat gear before the yearend, Airborne Force Commander Andrei Serdyukov said. "We are planning to provide all our soldiers and officers with the Ratnik combat system by the end of 2017," Serdyukov said in an interview with the Rossiyskaya Gazeta government daily.

Ratnik future solider system of the Russian Army at Eurosatory 2016

Four assault rifles, including 5.45 mm AK-12 and 7.62 mm AK-15 by the Kalashnikov Group, a subsidiary of Rostec, and 5.45 mm 6P67 and 7.62 mm 6P68 by the Degtyarev Plant, a subsidiary of the Rostec's High-Precision Weapons holding, are competing in the Ratnik program. "The tests have shown that the effectiveness of the 6P67 exceeds that of the AK-12 by 10% at a range of up to 300 m, while at ranges over 300 m the effectiveness of the AK-12 is better by 10%. According to the results of the OT&E, the firepower of the AK-12/AK-15 and 6P67 exceeds that of the organic Kalashnikov AK-74M twice and 2.1 times, respectively," the officials added.

The military said that a modified variant of the AK-74M developed under the Obves (Tuning) R&D work had been tested also. "The accuracy of the modernised AK-74M is 30% better compared with the basis firearm," the officials pointed out.

The integration of new thermal imagers into the firearms has increased target identification range to 1,200 m. "The OE&T of the new sighting, observation and reconnaissance systems will be completed before the year-end," they emphasized.

The design of the 3rd generation Ratnik gear (Ratnik-3) will be defined by the year-end. "The R&D work to define the design of the Ratnik-3 will be completed this year, and the gear will have been developed by 2022. The weight of the advanced equipment will be reduced by 30%, while its effectiveness will be increased by 1.5 times. The helmet will be equipped with cutting-edge sensors, including an identification friend-or-foe system, an integrated sight and a monitoring device," the officials concluded.

Russia pays special attention to the development of advanced individual equipment. The military has already received over 200,000 Ratnik kits, and the deliveries of the gear to equip all the troops will be completed in 2020. Ratnik also has an outstanding cost-effectiveness ration, as the cost of a basic kit does not exceed RUB200,000 (USD3,450).

Ratnik-2 features body armour that provides protection against 7.62 mm armor-piercing (AP) and armor-piercing incendiary (API) bullets of the Dragunov sniper rifle. According to the Director General of the TsNIITochMash design bureau Dmitry Semizorov, the protective components of the gear were not penetrated during the use of the Ratnik in the counter-terrorism operation of the Russian armed forces in Syria.

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