Russia May Soon Adopt Gear for “Soldier of the Future”

1The Russian version of “future soldier” gear could be put into service with the armed forces in the near future, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

2Rogozin, who visited the privately owned Degtyarev small arms plant in central Russia, said the tests of domestically designed Ratnik (Warrior) gear had been completed.

“There are some issues with small arms that should be addressed in the near future, and after that the gear will be adopted by the army,” Rogozin said.

3Various modifications of a new Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle as well as other small arms developed as part of Russia’s “future soldier” gear will pass state acceptance trials in the fall of 2013, a spokesperson for the Kalashnikov corporation said.

Yelena Filatova told reporters that a number of prospective small arms models for the Ratnik gear were shown to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during the Russian Defense Ministry’s Innovation Day arms exhibition on August 20 in Moscow.

“After examining the weaponry, the minister confirmed that all small arms developed under the Ratnik project will undergo state acceptance trials in the fall to bring clarity to the fate of the ‘future soldier’ gear,” Filatova said.

1New combat outfits for the armies of the world are not just updated outfits with elements of protection. These are real navigation systems that allow improving the interaction of the soldiers inside the unit thanks to communication systems and mapping. They also provide direct communication between the field and a tactical and even operational (brigade, division) level of command.

That is, the lag in the development of individual equipment for soldiers in the long term means a lag in management and coordination of army units and the level of interaction between the branches of the military on the battlefield.

1In turn, the implementation of this task requires not only the use of modern secure communication systems, but also a global geographical positioning system like GLONASS. The contemporary “queen of fields” needs satellite support for conducting effective combat actions.

The tests of “Ratnick”, a modernized version of the previously developed “Barmitsa” system began at the 27th Motorized Rifle Brigade in the Moscow region. The tests in the airborne units have been conducted since early fall of 2012, and took place under the framework of “Kavkaz-2012” training. The modular kit has been praised by the army. Troopers asked to modify the mountable components that did not deal well with overloads during landing.

1Moreover Moscow’s Kurchatov Institute, one of Russia’s largest nuclear physics think-tanks, expects to receive more than $5m in government funding for the development of the “soldier of the future” technology complex by 2020.

The Russian Government and its Advanced Research Fund (ARF) are said to have approved a timeline for the project for the next three years.

According to ARF, the prospective technology system is expected to enable a real “soldier of the future” to engage in combat operations from a position as far away from the firing line as possible, running an array of combat robots.

1Russia hopes to start adopting the results of the new project after 2020.

The Advanced Research Fund was set up last fall, with Russian vice premier Dmitry Rogozin responsible for military-related industry being the primary driver of the Fund program. ARF has been meant as the Russian analog of the U.S.’ DARPA, the Pentagon-controlled Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. ARF’s main goal is assistance in developing high-risk R&D projects for military purposes.

Many other nations have similar future soldier equipment programs in progress, including the U.S. Land Warrior, Germany’s IdZ, Britain’s FIST, Spain’s COMFUT, Sweden’s IMESS and France’s FELIN.

Rogozin stressed that the Russian gear would be superior in many ways to comparable NATO equipment.

Russian Soldier of the Future

4Russia has launched a new project financed by the Foundation of Prospective Research called “The soldier of the future”.

In fact, two concepts of the future soldier now dominate in the world. One is that of an operator of highly robotized equipment, who controls it from a safe place, sometimes far from the battlefield. The second is to turn a common soldier into a “superman” by equipping him with an exo-skeleton, something like a spacesuit or suit of armor to make him much stronger and less vulnerable.

6However, if operating robotic military equipment from a safe distance is already a reality, exo-skeletal suits are not yet being used in the army and, most likely, will not come into practice in the near future either. At least, this is the view of Editor-in-Chief of Russian magazine “Arsenal Otechestva” (“Fatherland’s arsenal”) Victor Murakhovsky.

4“What is hampering the creation of exo-skeletons, is, first of all, the issue of what energy they will use”, Mr. Murakhovsky says. “At present, the choice is limited, either petrol or diesel-oil, or electric power. But the problem is that, although we probably could equip an exo-skeleton with electric power accumulators, from the point of view of power, fuel-oil is much more effective. Most probably, until mankind discovers or invents a new kind of energy production, apart from electricity and fuel-oil, exo-skeletons for soldiers will remain a dream rather than reality. However, engineers are still attempting to work on them”.

“In fact, I seriously doubt that the time will come when exo-skeletons will be effectively used in battle,” Victor Murachovsky concludes, “Maybe, they will be used for parades, or, at least, during preparations for a battle.”

Mr. Murakovsky is also rather skeptical towards the idea that future wars will consist of battles between unmanned planes and tanks, operated by people sitting miles and miles away from the battlefield.

“The story of a US drone intercepted by Iranians is an illustration of the much-lauded “effectiveness” of unmanned planes”, he says. “I believe that anyone who tried to lead a battle with just drones instead of manned aircraft would very much risk losing”.

2“A modern artillery battery can effectively hit targets no further than about 50 kms around it,” Victor Murakhovsky continues. “For a modern helicopter, the relevant figure is several dozen kms, and for a drone,  several hundred kms. Taking this into account, I doubt that at present, anyone who is sitting, say, in Moscow, could effectively operate a drone, say, somewhere in the Far East. True, the US now uses long-range drones in Pakistan, Somalia or Yemen. But these are countries that can hardly be qualified as the world’s most developed ones.”

However, some experts do not share Mr. Murakovasky’s attitude towards the possibility of wars using unmanned planes and tanks. Thus, the RIA Novosti news agency’s military observer Konastantin Bogdanov says:

1“There is a proverb which goes: “Being well informed means being well armed”, and, in contemporary wars, this is probably more true than ever before. In modern wars, it is probably computer managers rather than soldiers on the battlefield on whom the outcome of a conflict depends. Today, the main aim of a warring side is not as much to destroy as many enemy planes and tanks as possible, as trying to get access to the enemy’s information and computer systems. Today, it wouldn’t be a big exaggeration to say that battles managed by people sitting in front of a computer many miles away from the battlefield have already become a reality. In such a situation, I wouldn’t be surprised if warriors in exo-skeletons became a reality very soon.”

5The organization that was ordered to work on “The Soldier of the Future” project is the Kurchatov National Scientific Center, chosen because, some time ago, new generation materials were created there, which, as experts believe, may well be used to create exo-skeletons.

The Russian version of “future soldier” gear could be put into service with the armed forces in the near future, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

3“There are some issues with small arms that should be addressed in the near future, and after that the gear will be adopted by the army,” Rogozin said.

Many other nations have similar future soldier equipment programs in progress, including the U.S. Land Warrior, Germany’s IdZ, Britain’s FIST, Spain’s COMFUT, Sweden’s IMESS and France’s FELIN.

Russian Defence Industry Employees to Be Trained in Italy and Germany

2Engineers and technologists of the largest defence industry complex enterprises will be taught to deal with foreign machines.

Engineers of the largest Russian defence enterprises within the framework of new equipment study will be trained at the five industrial properties in Italy and Germany.

2The training organized by the Moscow State Technological University (MSTU) STANKIN as part of the presidential program of engineers advanced training which won the tender for the organization of such trips (its task is also to provide the participants with insurance and visas, hotel accommodation and all kinds of transfers).

According to the vice-principal for Postgraduate Education of STANKIN MSTU Julia Elneva, 13 engineers and design engineers from four Russian defence enterprises will undergo training: Almaz-Antey Concern (produces air defence weapon and radiodetectors), Dual Technologies Federal Center “Soyuz” (manufactures engines for missile systems and space vehicles), Experimental Engineering Factory  of Rocket and Space Corporation “Energiya” named after Korolev (engaged in the development of rocket and space technology) and “Saturn” (develops engines for military aircraft).

– Now a large-scale technical upgrade of enterprises takes place, equipment is supplied and mainly it is of a foreign production. It is obvious that the people who will be working with this equipment should be trained. We made up our program in accordance with the latest solutions to modernize the technological base of defence enterprises – the vice-principal of STANKIN MSTU said.

1The training will take place in August and October at Siemens factory (Erlangen, Germany), the Fraunhofer Institute of organization and automation of industrial production (Magdeburg, Germany), and at three technology centers of Italy.

The education process will be organized according to three areas: production of complex parts on machines with computerized control, modernization of resource-conserving facilities of space-rocket engineering and tooling design with 1nanocoating to increase the resistance.

3.7 million rubles  are allocated for the implementation of this part of the presidential program of engineers advanced training for 2012-2014. This sum consists of two parts: the money to pay for the education part of the trip provided by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation from grants from the state budget; airfare, hotel accommodations and other expenses (as well as partially the training program) is funded by the company which sends the employees for training.

Russian Scientists Invent Super Solid and Light Nano Body Armor

1Novosibirsk electric vacuum plant Soyuz has developed a new technology for the military to produce armor materials on the basis of boron carbide nano-powder.

Super-solid ceramic plates produced with the use of the new technology increase protection five or six times, while reducing the weight of body armor four times.

1According to representatives of the company, the declared effectiveness of protection of personnel and equipment exceeds the current level by 5-6 times, and the cost of finished military products at the same time is going to be 15-25% lower than the existing defense-related systems. Ceramic material-based armor is lighter than steel by 2-3 times, and the use of boron carbide is important in order to adapt this technology for the aircraft.

1According to Alexey Filatov, an expert and a veteran of the “Alpha” anti-terrorist group, this development is a very promising material, and that its creation is vitally important not only for the Russian army, but for all law enforcement agencies. He also added, that it is likely that the new nano-armor will become a well-known brand in the market of weapons and equipment, similarly as the Kalashnikov rifle.

New boron carbide-based armor plates ensure protection from 7.62 mm caliber bullets. Such armor, when adapted in military vehicles, will be able to shield from bullets of calibers 12.7 mm and 14.5 mm. Plates capable of withstanding up to five bullets hitting at a distance of 70 mm from each other will be used to manufacture body armor.

1Light armor plates for military vehicles should be able to hold up to eight hits at a distance of 100 mm from each other. New material provides 98% protection against the penetration of bullets and can be used at temperatures ranging from -50 °C to +50 °C without compromising the protective qualities.

Currently the specialists from the “Soyuz” company are developing documentation for all phases of manufacturing technology process, including the production of nanostructured boron carbide molding powder (produced from raw materials obtained from local sources in Russia), production of ceramic elements and light armor plates on the basis of this material, and production of sample units and development of test procedures. By this November, the company is obligated to submit documents for production and test equipment to the Russian Ministry of Industry.

The next stage of research and development (prototyping and testing) will begin in December1 and will run until November of the following year. The introduction of technology into production lines is planned for the 4th quarter of 2015. The design and implementation of technology is funded from the federal budget; 145 million rubles (~4,4 million US dollars) is allocated for this purpose. The cost of finished nano-armor will be 15-25 percent lower than that of existing protection systems.

Rescuits to be Able to Serve in the Army with Their Friends

1Russian Defence Ministry continues its work on increasing the attractiveness of military service in the Russian army.

The Defence Ministry is carrying out an experiment – fellow students at colleges and universities will be able to serve in the army together. The military men chose 250 college graduates in Moscow – a car mechanic who had been assigned to serve in the four military units located in the Moscow region. At the same time the boys will serve together.

1According to the military commissar of Moscow Vladimir Regnatsky, this principle should facilitate the process of adaptation of the recruits in the army. “If they serve properly and do not violate the discipline then in the future other guys, including college graduates, will be called out for service using this principle. But it is important for them to be physically qualified and to want to serve in the same military forces, “- said Regnatsky.

According to him, now they can send recruits from one university or college to serve in one and the1 same military unit. But the guys should tell about their desire to serve together to the army conscription commission – it is them, according to Regnatsky, who execute the distribution of recruits. In addition, it is necessary that everyone is physically qualified to serve in the same military forces.

The Defence Ministry explained that the experiment is carried out with the support of the regional education authorities: military enlistment offices work with the management of secondary and higher education institutions that decide to send its graduates to serve in the same military unit. “In this process a lot of factors depend on the specialty of graduates and their place of permanent residence, because even classmates may belong to different military enlistment offices, “- said the representative of the Defence Ministry.

1Moreover the Ministry pays special attention to the recruits health. Their health is to be estimated according to new rules. And this year the Ministry of Defence plans to spend over 210 million rubles on the purchase of medicines, immunological, disinfectant agents and consumable medical supplies.

The Army has always paid special attention to the prevention of colds – the representative of the Ministry said.

??????????????????????“Of course, in the hospital the soldiers are treated no worse than in civilian hospitals, and often even better. Often, however, only paramedic can provide soldiers medical assistance at a military unit. Moreover, many soldiers do not seek help from physicians, and held off until… Therefore, it is important that the soldiers have a strong immune system, and that they have drugs that can block the development of viral diseases,” – the Defence Ministry representative said.

1The Chief Physician of the Moscow consultative and diagnostic center for immunological prophylaxis Ivan Leshkevich also welcomes this initiative of the Ministry. ”It is right to buy such drugs: they can be used both as a treatment and as a preventive means. The Defence Ministry has competent physicians, and they know what they are doing,” he said.

Defence Ministry to Raise Age Limit for Career Officers

1Russia’s Defence Ministry will ask the government to raise the maximum age limit for career army officers. Under a bill to be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday, July 22, the retirement age for career military may be extended by five years, Deputy Defence 1Minister, General of the Army Nikolai Pankov, said on Friday.

“I will let out a small secret. On Monday we shall propose a bill that will let career military stay on the active list longer than now,” Pankov told the Defence Ministry’s Public Council. “There is no other country in the world whose officers get such fundamental instruction. The process of education may last up to nine years. And there is no other country in the world where an officer’s active service cycle is as short. Our lieutenant-colonels retire at 45, and colonels, at 50,” Pankov said with regret.

According to the official the Defence Ministry had spent over a month collecting comments on the proposal from various bodies of state power and the general public to get not a single critical remark. Soon the initiative will be laid out on an official site of MO Russian Federation. The bill provides that the age limit of stay on military service increases for majors, lieutenant colonels (captains of 3 and 2 ranks) till 50 years, for colonels (captains of 1 rank) – till 55, major generals and lieutenant generals (rear admirals and vice admirals) – till 60 years, marshals, generals, colonel generals (admirals of fleet, admirals) – till 65 years.

The adoption of this bill will also envisage unity of  the institutional and legal framework of the civil service. And also establishes a common approach to the civil service. Many former and present officers reacted positively to this initiative of the Defence Ministry.

1Many experts believe that the adoption of this bill will be only useful for the army. Indeed, in the first place officers with extensive experience, including with the combat one, will stay and continue their military service. And, secondly, there is a strong lack of the officers in the army.

1It is worth saying that in recent years, most officers had to dismiss because they reached the age limit for the service. And it is quite difficult to start a new life at 45 years. And  colonels had to work as ordinary securities for the so-called “new Russians”.

1Well-known military expert Vladislav Shurigin believes that the adoption of this bill is very important. In Soviet times, for the gifted officers a special order was written to extend the term of service in two phases of 5 years. Today, it is impossible. Therefore, according to Shurigin, the bill will help to keep a particularly valuable staff.

Recruits Health to be Estimated According to New Rules

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This fall the medical examination of recruits health can be conducted in accordance with the new rules. By this time a new Regulation on military medical examination will enter into force, according to the Defence Ministry.

 2In fact, the document is considered to be highly specialized. The document describes in detail who and how checks the health of future military conscript, contractors and officers. And in the appendix to the document there is a list of diseases, the presence of which can release the guys from military service, or sort them out to “B” category, i.e. fit for the military service only in wartime. Also the Regulation contains diseases which doctors should treat. And only then they can send the young people to the barracks.

Such documents should be updated at least once every ten years. According to the Chief of the Main Army Medical Department of the Ministry of Defence Alexander Fisun, the document is now under consideration of the government.

 Alexander Fisun described the new rules for the medical examination of recruits as “too hard”. Does this mean that the list of incompatible with military service, serious illness is expanding? The current list of diseases includes more than hundreds of diagnoses which close the doors of barracks for young people. Fisun has not yet given the full information on the new list of diseases. First of all, he made it clear that the requirements to hearing and visual impairment which can be corrected, would be softened. The general explained it by changes in the nature of military service. He said that many military experts, for example, programmers  “work not like 10 years ago.” “But all that which relates to mental and neurotic disorders, diseases of the cardiovascular system, the requirements are still tough and perhaps they will become even tougher,” – Fisun said.

5As for the list of diseases, it is unlikely to change drastically. Those recruits who suffer from heart diseases, mental neurotic and personality disorders will be released from the military service. Also tubercular patients, diabetics, recruits suffering from diseases of blood and nervous system, even in case of insignificant dysfunctions, are not allowed to serve in the army.

4The list of diseases which exempt from military service, will also include flat foot of 2 degree, burdened by osteoarthritis of 2 degree. Though soldiers practically do not wear tarpaulin boots, they still have to make many kilometers marches and run every day.

According to Alexander Fisun, the adjustments to the Regulations on the military medical examination are intended primarily to protect young recruits from sudden deaths, suicides, and other emergency situations.

Defence Ministry Increases Attractiveness of Military Service in Russian Army

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Russian Defence Ministry decided to increase the attractiveness of military service in the Russian army. Following the mandatory weekend, “rest-hour “, intensive sports training and rejection of non-combat functions, such as cleaning and peeling potatoes, the Defence Ministry introduced buffet dinners.

1Now buffet dinners are introduced in secondary educational institutions of the Ministry of Defense, military sanatoriums and in some military units of special purpose. Buffet dinners are cooked by the civil food production facilities, which won the tender. In such refectories one can choose from 2-3 kinds of soups, hot dish, trimming and drinks.

During battle campaigns, soldiers continue to eat substantial food. However, the cost of food in these refectories is  higher than in the old ones – 195 rubles to 115. However, the military stressed that this amount does not include the cost of electricity, equipment and personnel.

3The military promise to give all military refectories to the civil enterprises. Only at remote northern garrisons, submarines and ships they will feed soldiers and sailors by their own forces.

In addition, the Defence Ministry wants to impose surcharges for Russian recruits. News agencies have spread the information on a possible increase of monetary allowances for recruits from January 1, 2014. Monthly payments to some junior commanders may increase in two or more times. “All recruits regardless of their rank and position are paid monthly 2,000 rubles according to by the President order made last year. Until the end of the 2013th this amount is unlikely to change. Now we cannot say exactly whether it will be different the next year or not. The head of the state started the experiment with the soldiers’ payments. And he will decide to continue the current financial practices or introduce a gradation in the payments for ordinary and junior commanders,” said one of the officers- economists of the Defence Ministry.

4Now the military economists see the future financial scheme as follows. If they increase the allowance for junior command personnel, the monthly payments to squad leaders will be reasonable to increase by 40%, to platoon sergeant – by 60% and to training major – by 80% from their current salary.

It should be said that the idea of ​​financial support to recruits has already been supported by the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation and the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security.

New Russian Military Unit to Protect Country’s History

1Russia is building a new army, not one to fight wars or to defend the country but one to protect the country’s history. Russia’s Defence Ministry plans to create a special military unit to work with archives and monitor the “falsification of history,” a senior military official said.
2Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov told reporters that in addition to a pilot project to draft research units of science students, the ministry plans to create other units to work in fields such as “sociology, psychology and history.”
One of the units will be attached to the Defence Ministry’s central archive, studying “aspects of the falsification of history that is becoming widespread in Russia and abroad,” Pankov said. He added that the unit’s research would focus on World War II, and that the soldiers would have access to classified data needed for their projects.
Pankov said that the ministry plans at least four military research units of draft-age students by the yearend,1 two of which, made up of science students, took up their posts in July. The students must spend their time performing research, reviewing secret documents, uncover lies against Russia, adjusting records and ‘setting Russia’s history straight’.
The time spent by students on the military research projects will count toward their mandatory one-year military service, officials said earlier.
President Vladimir Putin stated earlier this year he wants to end the different ‘versions’ about Russia’s history that are being taught in schools across the country. Putin believes Russian schools must use only one single standard version to teach Russia’s history.
The idea of cyber troops establishment was first performed at the meeting of Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu with heads of universities in March. Defence Minister liked the proposal of rectors community to attract students to carry out research papers by order of the Ministry of Defence instead of military service.
In terms of how the students’ service will be organized, officers are not going to make the troops entirely detached from the regular Army system. The recruits will learn how to fire a sub-machine gun and get a basic idea about combat tactics and how to act in defensive and offensive situations.
1As any other regular soldiers, the students will have to carry out duties, receive physical training and take part in morning and evening roll calls. Yet the main service mission and key function of those non-regular recruits will consist of scientific research.
“After conducting a half-year experiment, next year we will recruit students into science troops simultaneously with the placement of our R&D orders”, Shoigu told university rectors.
Russia will form a new military branch responsible for cyber security by the end of 2013. Among the main tasks of the cyber troops will be data monitoring and processing, as well as dealing with cyber threats.
The Federal Security Service (FSB), the post-Soviet successor to the KGB, is developing another similar project.
The Russian army is also interested in alternative energy sources, communications, robotics, and any other innovations that can be used for military purposes, Shoigu said in a meeting with university staff and the general public.

Russian Army in Search of Computer Programmers

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Russia will form a new military branch responsible for cyber security by the end of 2013. Among the main tasks of the cyber troops will be data monitoring and processing, as well as dealing with cyber threats.

Officers preparing to serve in this branch will require linguistic training; they will have to learn a foreign language, primarily English.

1President Vladimir Putin believes that the “firepower” of information attacks could be higher than that of conventional weapons. Putin stated, that it was necessary to counter cyber threats effectively. “We have to be prepared to counter threats in cyberspace effectively, to improve the level of protection of the relevant infrastructure—above all, information systems of strategic and mission-critical facilities,” the head of state told a Security Council meeting dedicated to improving Russia’s military organization through 2020.

Putin reminded his audience that “information attacks” were already being used to achieve military and political goals. He also noted that their “firepower” could be higher than that of conventional weapons.

A source at the Ministry of Defence said that a service branch responsible for the nation’s information security would be added to the Russian army as soon as this year.

The source confirmed that the new service’s key tasks would include monitoring and processing information coming from the outside, as well as countering cyber threats—“in other words, something along the lines of the United States Army Cyber Command.”

This matter was first brought up for broad discussion last spring, according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu asked several General Staff divisions last February to complete the development of a cyber command.

During the meeting with the rectors of Russia’s leading universities Sergei Shoigu said that the Ministry of Defence was starting a ‘big hunt’ for computer programmers.

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Military commanders will need a great deal of software products over the next five years. The code will be written, among others, by soldiers serving in cyber troops.

According to the minister, they will have to translate sophisticated mathematical equations “into understandable and tangible volumes and numbers – both financial and informational or speed related”. In addition, the Armed Forces face a huge number of tasks that need to be accomplished on an ad-hoc basis.

“On the one hand, we need to overcome some inertia. On the other, we would like the newly established cyber troops to help raise a new generation that will develop our military science,” Shoigu said.

Sergei Shoigu asked his associates to locate the students of one St. Petersburg university, which had won a global computer programming championship for the fifth time. “I heard on the TV today that students at a St. Petersburg university won the global computer programming championship for the fifth time. We have to find them. We have to work with these guys somehow, because we need them badly,” the minister said in early July, during a meeting with university rectors and the public on the subject of science units in the army.

“The minister of defence has asked me to meet these guys personally and tell them about military-related software development projects that we are actively carrying out,” Deputy Minister Oleg Ostapenko told journalists.

Ostapenko said, the Ministry of Defence would be ready to offer them the required conditions, including project finance (at least at the market level) to create an environment for effective work.

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The minister said that the structure of cyber troops, staff schedules, commanders and supervisors of these troops had already been approved.

In May, the Defence Minister told the Duma that cyber troops in the armed forces will be formed of recruit students who will serve in the army during the summer holidays, during the period of three months.