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DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 32 | JUNE 2017
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Russia getting serious about combat UGVs
The line-up of Russian weaponised unmanned ground
vehicles (UGV) continues to expand, with the emergence of
the BAS-01G BM Soratnik from the Kalashnikov Group.
The Soratnik (‘Comrade-in-arms’) is a modular UGV with
a combat weight of around 7 tonnes. For a relatively small
platform – hull dimensions are roughly 2.8m long by 1.8m
wide – this suggests an armoured hull with kinetic protection
perhaps up to STANAG 45698 Level 2, providing immunity
for internal components against small arms fire. Primary
roles include fire support, combat reconnaissance, obstacle
clearance, resupply and patrolling.
Alongside the slightly smaller Nerehta UGV, Soratnik
UGVs took part in exercises with Russian mechanised
forces from the Central Command outside of Moscow in
December 2016 (see embedded video).
The video footage shows a Soratnik UGV armed with
a Kord 6P49 12.7mm heavy machine gun (HMG) and
four ready-to-launch Kornet-EM anti-tank guided missiles
(ATGM). These are installed in a small turret that appears
to have 360 degree traverse, although it is possible that
depending on the location of friendly forces the arc of
fire is restricted electronically to prevent blue-on-blue
engagements. Other armament options include a 7.62mm
machine gun, 30mm AG-17A Plamya automatic grenade
launcher (AGL) or the new 6G27 Balkan 40mm AGL.
The Soratnik UGV is able to be remotely controlled
from up to 10km away and has the ability to operate
autonomously under limited circumstances. Operational
range is reportedly 400km and maximum road speed
The system features secure communications and a
sensor package able to detect targets out to 2,500m. The
fire control system is capable of automatically detecting,
tracking and engaging selected targets.
Unlike the Multi Utility Tactical Transport UGV recently
trialled by the US Marine Corps, it appears that the Soratnik
UGV has steel tracks instead of rubber band tracks more
commonly found on large UGVs.
Adding to Russia’s stable of weaponised UGVs that
include the market-ready Uran-9 UGV, the Soratnik UGV
can also work in tactical co-operation with other unmanned
platforms, including unmanned aerial vehicles.
– Mario Attopardi
ABOVE: The Soratnik UGV seen armed with a Kord 12.7mm
HMG and four Kornet-EM ATGMs (and inset). The Kornet-EM
missile has a maximum range of 8,000m when fitted with an
anti-tank warhead or 10,000m with a thermobaric warhead.
Images: Russian MoD
Lockheed Martin trots out soldier exoskeleton
SM-6 closing in on FOC
A new exoskeleton from Lockheed Martin has added to
the number of innovative assistive technologies designed to
make carrying heavy loads easier for soldiers.
Using licensed Dermoskeleton bionic augmentation
technology, the Fortis Knee Stress Release Device (K-SRD)
is a computer-controlled exoskeleton that counteracts
overstress on the lower back and legs and increases an
individual’s mobility and load-carrying capability. It boosts leg
capacity for physically demanding tasks that require repetitive
or continuous kneeling or squatting, or lifting, dragging,
carrying or climbing with heavy loads.
Following feedback received from soldiers about the initial
design, the latest iteration of the Fortis K-SRD features
military-grade batteries that are approved for infantry use,
improved control box ergonomics and faster actuators that
generate more torque, according to Keith Maxwell, Fortis
program manager at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire
The Fortis K-SRD incorporates sensors to detect and
report a soldier’s speed, direction and angle of movement
to an onboard computer that drives electro-mechanical
actuators at the knees. This enables the exoskeleton to
deliver the right amount of torque at the right time to assist
in leg flexion and extension. By reducing the amount of force
the soldier must generate to traverse rough terrain, squat or
kneel, endurance and lifting strength is enhanced and the risk
of injury lessened. These attributes, says Lockheed Martin,
ABOVE: The Fortis assistive exoskeleton can assist soldiers to
carry heavier loads for longer over difficult terrain.
Image: Lockheed Martin
After four successful flight tests, the Raytheon Standard
Missile 6 (SM-6) is nearing activities that will see it granted
final operational capability (FOC).
Already deployed by the US Navy (USN) and with 330
missiles delivered to date as part of initial production, the
SM-6, says Raytheon, is the only missile on the world market
able to undertake anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface
warfare (ASuW) and terminal ballistic missile defence (BMD)
“The US Navy began deploying SM-6s four years ago, but
we’ve continued to give it software upgrades and test it in
every possible scenario to learn more about what it could
do,” said Mike Campisi, Raytheon’s SM-6 senior program
director. “We’ve continued to raise the bar, and the missile
has exceeded it every time.”
The expanded capacity SM-6 Dual I achieved initial
operating capability in 2016.
In January this year, the US Department of Defense cleared
the way for sales of the SM-6 to selected international
customers. These are thought to be Australia, Japan and
South Korea, the navies of which each operate or plan to
guided missile destroyers (DDG) equipped with Aegis
combat systems, specifically in the Aegis Baseline 9
Australia’s three new Hobart-class Air Warfare Destroyers,
Japan’s two new 27DDGs and in-service Atago-class DDGs
and South Korea’s planned new Sejong the Great-class
DDGs will all be capable of handling the volume and high
fidelity of data generated by radar, sensor and processor
feeds and third-party targeting information.
It remains to be seen, however, what capability set export
versions of the SM-6 will possess compared to the AAW/
ASuW/BMD capability suite of USN missiles.
– Ian Bostock
are most noticeable when ascending/descending stairs or
climbing steep terrain and inclined surfaces.
– Staff Reporters
LEFT: Arleigh Burke class DDG USS John Paul Jones launches
a SM-6 during an early live-fire test of the ship’s Aegis weapons
system. Image: US Navy
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