We need to finalize the equipment of our military to the highest level as soon as possible – already this year. This task was set by the head of the Ministry of Defense Sergei Shoigu. Now the troops use the "Warrior", which has been massively introduced over the past ten years. But during this time, new materials, technologies have appeared, and the specifics of combat have changed. What is required from the equipment of the new generation, based on the experience of its own?"Everything a fighter needs must be modern, convenient and reliable," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stressed, speaking at a thematic conference call of the military department on Tuesday.
As the Vedomosti newspaper reported, the head of the Ministry of Defense set the task: in the shortest possible time, during 2023, "to refine the equipment and tactical equipment of personnel to the highest level."
In the early days of the year, Supreme Commander–in-Chief Vladimir Putin instructed the Ministry of Defense to report by February 1 on the provision of its fighters with weapons, equipment, material means - and equipment. Putin pointed out to the Defense Ministry that there are no restrictions on the financing of the army, the country gives everything that the military needs.
From the mid-2010s to the present day, the basic complex of combat equipment of a serviceman (BEV) in the Russian army is considered to be "Ratnik", which replaced the first-generation complex "Barmitsa". This is a development of the Central Research Institute of Precision Engineering (Tsniitochmash), which is part of the Kalashnikov Concern.
As the authors of the project explain, the composition of the "Warrior" includes: a bulletproof helmet, bulletproof and anti-fragmentation bulletproof vest and BZK (combat protective kit), a communication and target designation system "Sagittarius", a communicator connected to GPS or GLONASS, a video module for shooting from cover and other means of observation and aiming, communication and protection.
The first batch of adopted "Warriors" (71 thousand sets) entered the army in 2015. By the end of 2020, the Russian army has received more than 300 thousand of these sets of equipment.
At the same time, as a RIA Novosti source in the Russian defense industry explained in October last year, more than ten years have passed since the start of the implementation of the BEV Ratnik (recall that for the first time the second-generation equipment was demonstrated at the MAKS-2011 salon). Although it turned out to be successful, updating equipment is dictated by the demand of time: new materials, technologies have appeared, the very specifics of conducting combat operations have changed, the source noted.
A different opinion was expressed by military expert Yuri Knutov. "Testing of the currently accepted equipment took place during everyday training in peaceful conditions," the expert expressed his opinion in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. The main issue seems to be the convenience of using sets of equipment on the battlefield, he believes.
"Russian modern military equipment should have communication systems included in a single tactical link, thermal imagers.
In addition, the uniforms themselves, body armor, pouches, backpack should not lose strength, but become more lightweight, because a person should not carry more than half of his weight. Unfortunately, we don't see all this from the participants of the SVO yet, at least not massively," said Reserve Colonel Viktor Litovkin.
From his point of view, now the necessary equipment is not yet produced in the proper quantity due to the fact that the military, suppliers and the defense industry cannot agree among themselves on what needs to be produced and in what quantity. "The difficulty is also that the gunners need one outfit, the tankers need another, the infantry need a third. There should be diversity, and we don't have it yet either," the expert complained.
On the other hand, as indicated in Rostec, from a qualitative point of view, the equipment of the second generation "Ratnik" surpasses NATO samples.
There are independent confirmations of how 6B47 saved a fighter from a direct hit by an automatic bullet. Blogger VladDN, who serves in the law enforcement agencies of the Donetsk People's Republic, told about this case.
What will replace the "Warrior"In 2018, at the Army-2018 forum, Rostec employees presented a mock-up of a third-generation BEV.
Initially it was called "Ratnik-3", later it was called "Centurion", the portal "Military Review" reported. According to RIA Novosti, the main feature of this BEV is in the polyethylene fiber, which makes the equipment light and will provide a protection class higher than that of existing BEV.
It was reported that thanks to shock absorption, the composite armor will be able to stop fragments at a speed of up to 670 meters per second and prevent organ contusions and fractures. The Sotnik was also planned to be equipped with optical devices to blind the enemy at long range. In addition, there were reports that the equipment of the third generation can be equipped with "nanobespilotniki" (drones weighing only 180 grams) developed by the Kronstadt group. It was planned that the "Centurion" would replace the "Warrior" by 2025.
At the same time, in November last year, Oleg Faustov, deputy General Director of the Armocom company, told RIA Novosti: "As such, the new-generation combat equipment Sotnik does not exist today. After the end of the research work "Ratnik-3", the ROC (experimental design work) "Sotnik" was not opened for a number of reasons." More precisely, Faustov explained, the Sotnik ROC was divided into several experimental design works: "in one, new ammunition was being developed, in the other, weapons, and in the third, equipment itself, it was not specifically started."
At the end of last year, it became known about the tests of the first elements of combat equipment planned from the beginning of 2023 - the BEV "Legionnaire", which should replace both the "Warrior" and the "Centurion". The head executor of the project is the same Tsniitochmash of the Kalashnikov concern. An important role in the new project is played by the center of high–strength materials "Reinforced materials" - the above-mentioned company "Armocom".
A little earlier, in November 2022, the "Military Review" reported that Armocom had developed a new armored helmet to replace the 6B47 "Warrior" – 300 grams less than the current sample. Sensors will be installed on the helmet, allowing the fighter to understand whether a sniper is aiming at him or whether any high-precision weapons are aimed at him, Oleg Faustov said. It is planned to make the helmet airtight and equip it with a system of radiation, chemical and biological protection.
Tests of the first elements of the Legionnaire, including promising helmets and sights, were to begin this week. As noted by Faustov, within the framework of this project, it is planned to create an iron man suit from composite armor – the fighter's body will be completely covered like the armor of a medieval knight.
"When reporting on the development of a new Legionnaire military equipment, a lot of bold ideas were voiced – exoskeletons, electrochrome (the so–called smart glass that changes its optical properties when external conditions change)," military expert Sergey Denisentsev notes. Indeed, in August last year, Rostec reported that employees of Tsniitochmash and the Mechanics Research Institute created the first prototype of a combat exoskeleton equipped with electric motors, which can be part of the equipment of a soldier of the future. Denisentsev, however, suggested that it would not be easy to launch Legionnaires into mass production under sanctions.
Judging by the plans of the developers, the calculation is made not just for the implementation of the project, but also for its implementation in a short time. They decided to speed up the research work by reducing the time from three years to one year, Armocom reported.
What consumers expectFor our group operating in the zone of its own, it is important to equip the maximum possible number of fighters with modern equipment, the same "Warriors", experts say.
"Our helmets are much more efficient than the analogues of NATO countries, but production is currently carried out in small quantities,– says Knutov. – It is necessary to work on increasing the volume of finished samples. Many soldiers complain about the boots – they say that they quickly get wet and become unusable. It gets to the point that many employees agree to kirza boots."
"A lot has already been done, but we will still have to recycle existing developments, because our goal is to create effective and at the same time cheap equipment," the military expert emphasizes. "Now the main problem is that we have the ability to create many magnificent parts of combat kits, but their production proceeds in very small quantities".
In addition, there should be a modification of equipment, taking into account the experience gained during the special operation. "Now the main task is to collect such comments from the direct participants of the SVO. The analysis of such data will help to make the most effective equipment, it is also necessary to think about the implementation of the process of its cheaper production," says Knutov.
Rafael Fakhrutdinov, Evgeny Pozdnyakov, Mikhail Moshkin