Russia Develops Two Autonomous Fighting Vehicles

A Russian defense organization has shown that size really does not matter.

Rosoboronexport has developed a mini tank bot that stands only a few feet taller than a human. It has a machine gun, missiles and a 30-milimeter cannon that can fire 350–400 rounds per minute. Called the Uran-9, it comes with two recon and fire-support robots, a cutting-edge laser warning system and target detection, and high-tech identification and tracking equipment.

It is intended to be treated as a weapons system that is deployed with an infantry unit, rather than a separate vehicle.

Russian developers “possess all of the required competencies to create modern military robotics that will be in demand on the international market,” said Boris Simakin, who heads the Analysis and Long-Term Planning Department at Rosoboronexport.

The outside of the bot holds a 7.62-millimeter machine gun and four 9M120 Ataka anti-tank missiles, each designed to hit a target 2.5 miles away with 90% accuracy, according to a report in Popular Mechanics.

Even though the technology is relatively new, Rosoboronexport hopes this machine will benefit troops in cities that have experienced a terror attack to help reduce casualties.

“This is a fast-growing segment of the arms market, so Rosoboronexport will develop and implement a long-term marketing strategy for promoting such pieces of hardware, including as part of integrated security projects,” said Simakin.

The price has not been set yet. The company hopes to bring the Uran-9 to market later this year.

This isn’t the first tiny vehicle to come out of Russia. Earlier this year, a mini monster truck was introduced to assist workers in extreme environments.

The Sherp ATV is an all-terrain mini monster truck that not only excels in rugged environments, but also plows through water snow and ice. It comes with enormous self-inflating tires and paddle-like treads that propel it over obstacles up to 27.5 inches tall. It tops out at 27.9 mph.

On land, the massive wheels move like tank treads in that they can lock up or slow down on one side to turn. Combined with skid-steer, the vehicle can turn within its own length, given 8.2 feet clearance from another object.

It comes with a water heater, analog devices and display and halogen headlights. It also has a device that drains water from it instantly when it is submerged.

It has an indestructible diesel engine from Kubota, a Japanese manufacturer. The 15.3 gallon, 44 horsepower engine powers the 2,866-pound truck. The cab seats two human occupants.

The manufacturer is pushing the Sherp as a work vehicle for extreme environments. It is intended to carry service workers and their tools to the tops of mountains or into swamps.

The cheaper model has a tent-like roof with no wipers or heater and lists for $65,000. The hardtop model goes for $70,000. They also come with extras such as matching trailers and additional tanks at the wheels.

The Sherp took inspiration from a 2010 innovation produced by Garagashyan called the Cheburator, a board rotary jeep with a frame made from welded pipes. The Cheburator can drive over ice, break it, and jump into and out of the water.

The Sherpa company started in 2012 to test Garagashyanom’s first prototype.

“Our goal was to show the world the car, which has no equal on the terrain,” according to the Sherpa website.

“And only in 2015, having three years of improvements, changes and choosing the best technical solutions, materials and components we launched [the] Sherpa-terrain vehicle into mass production.”

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE