Russia would appear to be a leader in the use of unmanned autonomous combat vehicles with the unveiling at the Army 2016 military technical forum of the Uran-9 drone tank. It is due to enter military service by the end of this year.
The Vikhr is an unmanned combat ground vehicle (UCGV) giving Russia’s military an advantage while keeping the country’s armed forces clear of danger using technological innovation.
It’s based on the BMP-3 infantry fighter vehicle (IFV) sporting a new name that translates to “Whirlwind” stressing the confidence that Russia with its new secret weapon will change the rules on the battlefield.
Weighing in at 14.7 tons, the self-sufficient combat system is similar to something appearing in an action movie that aims automatically to engage aerial targets to protect strategic facilities and also against ground forces.
As a robotic system, it can either be controlled by an operator or do certain tasks autonomously, explained Dmitry Bogdanov, deputy CEO at Impulse-2 Scientific and Technical Center in Sevastopol. For example, it can reach a set destination without the assistance of a person and bypass obstacles on its own.
The vehicle can move at a quick 37 MPH (60kph) on land and is capable of moving through deep water. In addition to the Vikhr, Russian defence contractor Rosoboronexport unveiled the Uran-9 tracked vehicle controlled remotely by an operator with a 30-millimeter cannon capable of firing 350 to 400 rounds shooting high explosive incendiary and munitions capable of piercing armour.
The Uran is only 10-feet high and was expected to enter military service next year or in 2018. However, reports indicate it will be ready for service the end of 2016.
Russia intends to export the fireproof tank that has some defence analysts worried that it will upset traditional ground war models with its formidable lethality without harm coming to the operator controlling the system remotely. It may be the start of futuristic drone warfare.