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Russian UGV Hedgehog sent to Ukraine for reconnaissance missions

For the first time, the Russian military's ground-based robotic platform, known as "Yozhik" (or "Hedgehog" in English), will be deployed in Ukraine in a reconnaissance configuration. Andrei Bratenkov, the Executive Director of the design bureau "Spectre," revealed that the drone has been specifically requested by Russian special forces units.
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Russian Yozhik UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle (Picture source: Russian media )

The Yozhik drone is designed to empower soldiers in deteriorating battlefield conditions. It allows them to deploy a drone directly from their trenches to deliver explosives to enemy lines or to strategically place munitions under the most vulnerable sections of enemy equipment. The new Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) operates on wheels rather than tracks. While tracked systems are technically more complex and costly to implement, they offer little advantage in small-sized vehicles that require significant traction. Given the presence of mud and construction debris on the battlefield, a wheeled platform offers superior off-road capabilities, making it the most cost-effective and resilient option.

Russian forces will test the Hedgehog drone under combat conditions, using it for reconnaissance missions and to draw enemy fire. The aim is to identify enemy firing positions effectively. To meet these operational requirements, the special forces have specifically requested an extension of the Hedgehog's communication range, enabling it to travel further into the field. The drone is equipped with 360-degree cameras, providing a comprehensive field of view.

The Russian UGV is expected to be deployed in Ukraine within a week. Currently, only one unit of this ground-based drone is being sent, as the design bureau is funding all developments through its own resources and modest donations. The special forces have financed the modernization of the Hedgehog, and it will be operational alongside them.

According to Bratenkov, the design bureau is also working on an armed version of the drone, capable of firing ammunition specifically designed for FPV drones. This will allow the Hedgehog to approach enemy positions more closely and engage them effectively.

It was previously reported that the Hedgehog maintains its mobility even when flipped over. Initially designed as a cost-effective means to deliver explosive devices to enemy positions, it can currently carry a payload of up to 5 kilograms over a range of 5 kilometers. Future plans aim to increase this payload capacity to 10 kilograms.


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