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Analysis: Russian state arms program up to 2023 will expand the line of military robots

The prospective Russian state arms program up to 2033 calls to considerably expand the line of military robots. President Vladimir Putin urged to focus on reconnaissance and combat vehicles yet in 2017. Three years later the program to develop combat robots and laser weapons has been nearly finalized, the Zvezda weekly writes.

Russian state arms program up to 2023 will expand the line of military robots 925 001
Russian defense industry will continue to develop new UGVs and UAVs  to perform military operations.  (Picture source southfront website)

The development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is an important guideline and the Defense Ministry invests a lot in it. R&D for several drones have been completed. A key success is the beginning of test operation of Orion drone. It is the first Russian UAV on a par with US drones. Several reconnaissances and combat Orions were engaged in Syria.

Another important result is the flight trials of Altius-U drone. It has a maximum range of 10 thousand kilometers. There are no official data on its characteristics, but some sources said the Defense Ministry will in 2020 display the final option of the drone fully made of Russian components. The batch production of Altius-U in several options is to begin in 2021.

Another innovation is S-70 Okhotnik drone. The Sukhoi S-70 Okhotnik nicknamed Hunter, also referred to Okhotnik-B, is a Russian stealth heavy unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed by Sukhoi as a sixth-generation aircraft project. The Okhotnik's design is based on the flying-wing scheme and incorporates the use of composite materials and stealth coatings, making the drone low-observable in flight. It has a weight of about 20 tons and a wingspan of around 65 feet (20 m). The drone is powered either by a single AL-31F turbofan, as used on the Sukhoi Su-27 fighter aircraft, or by the improved AL-41F derivative installed on Su-35S fighters and Su-57 prototypes

The Russian armed forces receive not only expensive UAV. Russian enterprises produce Forpost drones with domestic components. Another major guideline is loitering munitions. Lancet drone designed by Kalashnikov is in demand in Russia and abroad.

It is premature to speak about fully autonomous vehicles capable of independent decision-making, although the first results have been achieved. Russian experts create fully robotized combat units on the Marker robotic platform. The engagement tactic will be tested in the framework of armor creation for the ground forces. The first solutions are to be demonstrated to the Defense Ministry in 2025. The first prototypes are likely to appear in 2027.

The Marker platform is to create a fully-fledged combat unit in which each vehicle having strictly structured functions. Besides attack vehicles on existing and new platforms, there will be robotized transloaders and fuel vehicles which will make the robotic unit autonomously operate from several days to several weeks.

Marker is distinguished by soft and hardware modules. Sources in the defense industry said the Defense Ministry was paying much attention to the guideline. It is possible that modules to develop manned armor into unmanned vehicles will appear in a couple of years.

Robotized hardware will have its own control system. The available frequency band reserved for the military can be expanded and new automatic means of troops control will be created on the basis of a special learning neuron network.

A major volume of incoming and outgoing information will be processed by the robotized Kungas platform. Its trials are nearing completion. Although the main mission of the vehicles on the platform is to deliver cargoes, there are no limitations in providing fire support. It suffices to arm the vehicle with a combat module and sends the robot to the battlefield. Defense industry sources said Sozvezdie Concern was likely to create a test option of the tactical command system in 2022-2023, the Zvezda said.

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