Russia’s Strategic Missile Force will field-test a new mobile robot system designed to guard and defend strategic missile facilities during an upcoming nuclear weapons drill, TASS reports based on information supplied by the press service of the Russian Ministry.
Next to combat robots, around 4,000 military personnel and about 400 pieces of military equipment will participate in the nuclear weapons exercise to test the operational readiness of Topol-M ground-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles.
“What makes the exercise due soon in Russia’s eastern-most division of the strategic missile force so special is the use of the most complex robots for resistance to groups of saboteurs. The exercise will help evaluate the capabilities of the robot system’s fire module to track down and monitor drones,” the defense ministry reveals.
According to the information supplied, the mobile robot is evidently capable of “conducting field reconnaissance, for identification and elimination of stationary and mobile targets, for providing fire support for military units, and for patrolling and protecting of sensitive facilities in combination with automated security systems.” While patrolling at night, the robot is purportedly “disclosure-proof.”
The defense ministry has not provided any technical details about the new mobile robot except that it is equipped with “differentiated armor protection of the chassis and the combat platform.” The press release also did not provide a name or designation for the new weapon system, although it is likely that it is a variant of the Platform-M combat robot (See: “Meet Russia’s New Killer Robot”).
In July 2015, RT published a video of the remotely controlled Platform-M combat robot armed with a Kalashnikov assault rifle and four grenade launchers. Platform-M robots were also purportedly used by the Russian military in combat in Syria, although it is not clear to what effect or if at all, despite claims by Russian state-owned media outlets that the new weapon systems–along with Russian-made “Argo” robots–killed up to 70 Syrian rebels in battle.
The Progress Scientific Research Technological Institute of Izhevsk summarized the capabilities of the Platform-M robot:
Platform-M is a universal combat platform. It is used for gathering intelligence, for discovering and eliminating stationary and mobile targets, for firepower support, for patrolling and for guarding important sites. The unit’s weapons can be guided, it can carry out supportive tasks and it can destroy targets in automatic or semiautomatic control systems; it is supplied with optical-electronic and radio reconnaissance locators.
Russia is approximately 20 years behind Western countries in the development of robotic combat systems, although this fact does not keep Russia’s defense ministry from announcing that by 2025, 30 percent of military technology in the Russian Armed Forces will consist of robotic hardware. Among other things, Russia also plans field mind-controlled dual-use exoskeletons within in four years (See: “Will Russia Field Robo-Soldiers in 5 Years?”).