MOSCOW, (BM) – While the US military is trying to create a military exoskeleton, Russian experts are using it with might and main. This statement was made by the American journalist David Hambling in the Forbes edition, BulgarianMilitary.com reports.
In the United States, attempts have yet again failed to create Iron Man-style power armor. This means that for the American army, military exoskeletons will remain science fiction in the near future. At the same time, the Russians have long been using the technology of such armor.
According to Forbes, Russian exoskeletons, better known as “Ratnik”, were created by the Central Research Institute of Precision Engineering. The original version of the metal armor does not have an electric motor, but it can take a serious load off the soldier. With the help of an early version of the “Warrior”, the Russian military can make a multi-kilometer march with a weight of up to 45 kg.
“Non-motorized (or passive) exoskeletons take the load off the user by using springs or other devices to store or release energy. They are already being used in limited quantities in the automotive industry, where they reduce back and shoulder injuries, reduce fatigue and increase productivity,” the newspaper writes.
The EO-1 version of the “Ratnik” has already passed extensive tests – it was even used by combat engineers in the field. So, the exoskeleton was needed by Russian specialists in order to freely control the robotic demining complex “Uran-6”, which weighs more than 18 kg. Uranus-6 successfully worked in the North Caucasus and Syria during the clearance of Palmyra, Aleppo and Deir Ez-Zor.
In addition, the design of the “third hand” exoskeleton allows for the use of heavier and more powerful weapons – for example, a machine gun that a soldier can hold with one hand. Therefore, Russian troops with exoskeletons without power plants will be able to carry loads and fire heavier weapons with more ammunition than an enemy that does not have such technology.
“The Russian Warrior may not be particularly impressive compared to the invincible power armor promised by the US Navy. But if the project of the American combat suit, announced back in 2013, has not yet led to anything, the Russians already have a step to the next level. They are already gaining practical experience today: what an improved soldier is capable of and what the requirements for the next generation are,” said David Hambling.
Last year, Russia promised an exoskeleton with artificial intelligence
As we reported last year the fourth and follow-up generations of the soldier gear Ratnik are undergoing research and development process by Russia’s industrial design bureau TSNIITOCHMASH.
The next generation gear of Ratnik will feature powered exoskeletons, AI systems and micro-drones, according to the industrial director of Rosctec’s cluster of conventional weapons, ammunition and special chemicals, Sergei Abramov. He specifies that the work continues, and the corporation has a sufficient R&D reserve for this.
According to the Rostec’s official it is very likely the follow-up generations to be equipped with robotized systems that are integrated with artificial intelligence with human capabilities, and speaking about the use of powered exoskeletons, micro-drones and new weapons, he noted that their research was still ongoing.
The United States is investing, but there are no results yet
The global leader in the manufacturing of full-body exoskeleton robots for industrial and military applications Sarcos Robotics announced on 13th August 2018 the receipt of a second exoskeleton development contract from the U.S. Air Force, BulgarianMilitary.com reported in August before two year ago.
The first contract was awarded in 2017 and its subject was quasi-powered, full-body exoskeleton robots, which facilitate lifting of loads of up to 36.29 kg (80 lb). Now the second contract is directed to an improved variant that will be capable of lifting loads of up to 90.72 kg (200 lb) and is especially focussed on use cases related to Air Force logistics applications.
Ben Wolff, chairman and chief executive officer of Sarcos Robotics, commented then, “We are very pleased to have been awarded a second contract to expand our work with the United States Air Force. The Air Force is leading the charge when it comes to developing next-generation robotics technologies that combine human intelligence with the strength, endurance and precision of machines to serve as a force multiplier while also dramatically reducing the risk of injury. These exoskeletons will be a game-changer for the Air Force.”
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