BEIJING, (BM) – On October 25, a senior official in the Russian ground forces announced that the latest Kungas robot had successfully passed tests in the country. It is reported that until 2025 a unit consisting entirely of robots and capable of performing combat missions will be formed in the Russian troops.
This is not the first time that people in the country talk about “smart” unmanned weapons and military equipment. Recently, the Russian military department shared information about the “beacon” robot, which is able to adapt to complex terrain and perform combat missions in the city. Earlier, at the Army-2019 international military-technical forum, Russia demonstrated the unseen invisible combat aircraft Okhotnik-B, the Korsar reconnaissance remotely piloted aircraft, and other weapons and military equipment.
Currently, many examples of unmanned vehicles and weapons developed by the Russian side are used in real combat operations, they have already managed to achieve considerable success on the Syrian battlefields. So why does Russia pay so much attention to the research and development of unmanned weapons and military equipment? What is the combat effectiveness of the samples that have already found application on the battlefield? Answers to all these questions will be given in today’s issue.
UAVs play many roles and take center stage thanks to their power
In the modern world, in any theater of operations, drones play an increasingly important role compared to any other equipment controlled remotely. Russia embarked on the research of unmanned technologies rather late, but it seems that this did not affect the country’s success in the development and use of drones. In recent years, Russia has not only created and adopted a large number of drones, but also formed unmanned units in the ground forces, navy and air force.
The drones used by the Russian army can not only conduct fire reconnaissance and transmit coordinates, but can also aim artillery pieces, make an effective assessment and play many roles on the battlefield. Thanks to the combat successes already in place, Russian UAVs form the backbone of the power of Russian unmanned equipment.
In addition to the work on creating groups of unmanned aerial vehicles and a remotely controlled air fire barrier, the Russian side is intensively conducting research and development, as well as adopting military unmanned invisible aircraft capable of conducting combat operations autonomously. An example of this is Hunter-B, presented at the Army-2019 international military-technical forum. This UAV is designed according to the “flying wing” scheme, which ensures its invisibility, its hull is made of special materials, it is equipped with a high-precision target recognition system, equipment for conducting electronic warfare, it is capable of carrying precision-guided missiles, independently or with the help of humans, carry out reconnaissance missions and tracking, determining the coordinates of the target and launching a missile strike.
The most common among the drones, adopted by the Russian army, “Orlan-10”, the most versatile in terms of real combat.
He can play the role of “scout” in carrying out tasks to search for and save the wounded. On November 24, 2015, in the air over the Syrian-Turkish border, a Su-24M bomber, flying from the Russian base of Khmeimim, was shot down by a Turkish fighter. The aircraft commander Oleg Peshkov and navigator Konstantin Murakhtin ejected from a bomber. While their parachutes fell to the ground, they were bombarded by Syrian terrorists. Peshkov died from a direct hit, and the slightly wounded Murakhtin took refuge in a thicket in the mountainous terrain immediately after he landed and unfastened the parachute. When communication with the aircraft was cut off, the Russian military sent the Orlan-10 UAV to the scene for search and rescue operations. The rescue radio transmitter Murakhtin sent signals that were soon received by the drone, which determined the location of the navigator and transmitted data to the command of the base Khmeimim. Thanks to the coordinates provided by the Orlan-10 UAV, the Mi-24 combat helicopter and the Mi-8MTV multi-purpose helicopter with six marines on board successfully carried out an operation to rescue Murakhtin. Exploration, decision making, and search and rescue operations themselves took a total of 10 hours.
“Orlan-10” can also be a “navigator” and a “controller” during the conduct of artillery fire on the enemy. After the start of military operations in Syria, Russian troops located at the bases of Khmeimim and Tartus were suddenly attacked by terrorists. To combat them, in January 2018, Russian special forces and detachments equipped with the new Krasnopol-M2 guided shells carried out an aimed artillery strike, destroying the secret base of the terrorists and the warehouse with their drones. During the assault raid, the Russian side activated the Orlan-10 UAV as part of the UAV squad. The base and the warehouse were under continuous surveillance, and after the coordinates of their location were determined, information was transferred to the command, which ordered the artillery to open fire. After the start of the attack, Orlan-10 served as the “navigator” and set the direction in the air, helping guided projectiles hit the target. After the operation was completed, the drones turned into “controllers,” taking up the assessment of the damage caused by artillery.
The number of combat drones, a fighting force capable of “thinking” independently, is growing rapidly
Russia overtakes many countries in an effort to make robots their fighting comrades.
In December 2015, a battle took place in the mountainous region of the Syrian city of Latakia, which completely turned people around about the war and showed that the future, when robots will participate in hostilities, has already arrived. When the “height 754.5” held by Islamic radicals was captured, the Russian army sent six Platform-M tracked combat robots and four Argo wheeled robots in support of the Syrian government forces.
“Height 754.5” has a sharp slope, which makes it impregnable. Prior to this, the government forces could not take it. After the start of the battle, the operators sent combat robots to the militants’ stronghold, located 100-120 meters away, and struck the target with machine guns and ATGMs. After that, government troops carried out a “sweep” from a safe distance. Combat robots and drones returned a fixed firing point in the field of view and sent self-propelled howitzers to carry out a “surgical-accurate” strike. After 20 minutes of hostilities, the radicals who suffered heavy casualties were forced to leave “a height of 754.5”, while in the ranks of the government forces there were only four lightly wounded soldiers.
Despite the insignificant scale of the battle, it gained great importance. Compared to the traditional battle for mastering the fortifications, the combat robots used by the Russian army became a real means of “striking by reducing the dimensionality”, the embodiment of the “asymmetry” of the concept of warfare and confirmation of the intentions of the Russian side to develop various types of combat robots.
Russia has already developed combat robots that are superior in terms of intellectualization to Platform-M, which needs a person to carry out control. New combat robots minimize human intervention, as they can “think” on their own. To some extent, they are controlled automatically, capable of performing tasks on autopilot, refueling, ensuring safety, creating cover and many others.
For example, the Russian side recently announced the creation of the Kapitan robot sapper equipped with visual and sound reconnaissance equipment and a camera with 40x optical zoom. He is able to observe and make decisions in difficult conditions, for example, in a trench, basement or cave. Its movable manipulator can search for explosives in mountainous terrain or under the bottom of a car, pave the way through areas dotted with explosives to avoid undermining personnel in a mine.
In real combat conditions, robots can more efficiently perform tasks in hazardous areas, as well as resist enemy robots. Perhaps this was one of the reasons why Russia is so actively developing the field of creating combat robots.
Not so long ago, Vladimir Putin said at a meeting of the Security Council of the Russian Federation that in the next 10 years the range of robotic systems capable of performing diverse tasks on the battlefield should be expanded. By the beginning of 2020, the Russian army should develop tactics for conducting street battles using robots, and by 2025 form subunits of multifunctional robots capable of performing combat missions.
According to a statement by a senior official in the Russian ground forces, next year Russia will launch development work on the creation of heavy and light robots “Companion” and “Storm”. According to experts, in the near future units consisting of combat robots may become a separate branch of the armed forces of the Russian Federation.
Unmanned vehicles and boats are steadily developing, approaching intellectualization
In recent years, especially since the start of the military reform to create a new look for the Russian army, more and more attention has been paid to artificial intelligence. The Russian military department is confident that the development of AI, as an advanced technology, may entail changes in the direction of development of the national strategy and a revolution in the military sphere.
In contrast to the competition unfolding in the field of drone development, the dynamics and progress in the development of unmanned vehicles and boats in different countries are barely noticeable. Now Russia has grasped at this serious chance, contributing in every way to the development, adoption and use of unmanned vehicles and boats.
The latest generation of Russian unmanned military vehicles “Uranus-9” has already gained experience in combat use in Syria. Uran-9 is equipped with offensive weapons such as a machine gun and an aircraft gun, as well as a complex of anti-tank guided missiles, and anti-aircraft guided missiles are also installed on it. The operator can control the machine at a distance of more than 3 thousand meters, directing him to perform tasks on reconnaissance, image transmission and fire support. Uranus-9 is also able to independently make transitions, track targets, fire at them, evaluate its results and carry out a number of other combat missions.
Not so long ago, the Navy announced that soon multifunctional unmanned boats should enter the naval aviation. They can be used together with military aircraft and helicopters, in part they will replace warships when carrying out reconnaissance in the target area, pursuing suspicious ships and searching for enemy submarines. It is reported that combat aircraft and helicopters will be able to control unmanned boats even while a few kilometers above the surface of the water.
In the future, such boats will be equipped with small radar stations, allowing remote control of their weapons system and electron-optical equipment to perform a number of combat missions. As it became known, in order to be less vulnerable to mines and fight against submarines more efficiently, it is proposed to install a special underwater acoustic system and sonar buoy on Russian multifunctional unmanned boats for the timely detection of the target and the direction of combat aircraft, helicopters and nearby ships at it.
It is easy to see that Russia is moving towards intellectualization through the continuous development and adoption of unmanned weapons and military equipment, the creation of a multi-level, multi-dimensional and interpenetrating system for conducting unmanned, “smart” combat, thus acquiring a significant advantage in its favor. It can be assumed that in Russia more and more unmanned, “smart” weapons and military equipment will be created, which will give more chances to win in military conflicts.
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Original title: Russian-made drones and weapons using Russian-made AI were used in Syria
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect BGM`s editorial stance.