Russia sends UGV to Ukraine that selects and hits a target by itself

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation will send an autonomous robot [unmanned ground vehicle – UGV] to Ukraine. The Russian media Izvestia reported that it was the Marker robot. This robot is manufactured by a private Russian company positioned in the Urals. The company is called Androidnaya Technika.

Russia sends UGV to Ukraine that selects and hits a target itself
Photo credit: Wikimedia / Russian MoD

There is no official confirmation from the Kremlin yet. However, the news was reported by Mr. Dmitry Rogozin, head of a group of advisers and the scientific and technical center of the “Tsarski Wolves” division. Mr. Rogozin used his Telegram account to announce the decision made in the Kremlin. According to Mr. Rogozin, the Marker robot will be deployed in Donbas.

Mr. Rogozin’s statement said that several Marker units would be sent, but did not mention their quantity. The robot has been tested several times in recent years, Rogozin wrote. Part of the tests were conducted at the Vostochny Kosnodrome. Marker has shown very good performance in the performance of security and intelligence work.

About Marker UGV

A strong impression is made by the fact that Marker is an autonomous fire control system. Through it, Marker can detect and hit enemy targets by himself at a distance of up to 15 km. The autonomous system has a friend-or-foe identification mode.

But does the autonomous system work? We ask this question because in 2021 friend-or-foe identification mode was announced as a possibility. I.e. for this system to work the Russians had to digitize all Russian personnel, equipment, weapon systems, and callsigns and enter them into the software.

Marker is designed with an open infrastructure. I.e. at any moment its creators can add software solutions or perform a very easy update. The robot is armed with a Kalashnikov machine gun and a system of four anti-tank missiles.

Important equipment

The autonomous vehicle has an electro-optical monitoring system, a thermal camera, and a laser target pointer. The latter provides an opportunity to improve the accuracy of missile and artillery strikes from other Russian weapon systems using Marker targeting.

This entire system performs data processing through specialized software. The software, according to Russian specifications, includes neural network algorithms. It is these networks that make the connection with the autonomous friend-or-foe system.

Most likely, the Russians will not afford to use the fully autonomous mode of the robot. Since it has an integrated early warning, identification, and tracking system, it will allow the operator to verify the target before giving the command to fire.

What else did Rogozin say?

Mr. Rogozin adds in his Telegram comment that once Marker starts functioning on the Donbas front, the results will arrive later. Their evaluation will answer many questions related mostly to Marker’s efficiency and productivity.

This is one of the rare cases in which one of the two warring parties decided to use modern military equipment. Marker’s performance will be watched with interest, not only by Moscow but also by Washington and its allies. A marker can outline this future that has been talked about in recent years, ie. turning ground forces into battlefield robot operators.

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