A new project of the combat automated system (UAS) was developed relatively recently. However, to date, the development organization has not only completed the design, but also built an experimental technique for testing and demonstrating the system to potential customers. At the same time, the general public about the “Companion” BAS became known only a few days ago. For the first time, a new development and plans to show it at the upcoming Army-2016 exhibition were announced on the first day of autumn. At the same time concern "Kalashnikov" published a photo of the sample.
September 1 TASS news agency published an interview with the director general of the Kalashnikov Concern Alexei Krivoruchko. Speaking with reporters, the head of the company spoke about plans relating to the exposition at the nearest exhibition of weapons and equipment. A. Krivoruchko noted that this year the robotic direction was added to the concern's product portfolio. One of the results of this in the very near future was to be the first public demonstration of robotic systems at the Army-2016 exhibition. In this sector it is planned to show two new developments for various purposes.
The combat automated system “Companion” was named as one of the major innovations of the forum from the “Kalashnikov” concern. The project of this BAS was created at the request of the Ministry of Defense. His goal was to create a multipurpose robotic system capable of solving various tasks using different equipment or weapons. In accordance with such requirements, the overall appearance of a promising combat robot was formed. To date, all these ideas have been embodied in the form of design documentation and finished prototypes.
BAS "Companion" is able to perform various tasks arising on the battlefield. It can be used for reconnaissance, patrolling and protection of important objects or territories, demining, pillage and fire support of subunits. The machine has protection against small weapons and fragments, uses radio communication with the control panel via a secure channel, is equipped with all necessary equipment, and can also carry equipment related to the nature of the tasks assigned.
It is argued that, if necessary, the combat automated system of the new type can interact with other equipment of its class. In particular, it is possible to work together with unmanned aerial vehicles developed by Zala Aero, which is part of the Kalashnikov concern. Due to this, high flexibility and efficiency of using equipment in various situations should be provided.
Together with the first data on the new project, the Kalashnikov Concern published the first known image of the Companion BAS. The photograph depicted a prototype machine in combat configuration, but without a weapon. It should be noted that a short video was published soon, probably from tests, showing a new model of equipment in motion. Interesting shots included in the new release of the program "Military acceptance" of the TV channel "Star". The release of the program called "Army-2016. Territory of Excellence "was devoted to preparing for the military-technical forum and the main innovations that were planned to be shown on it. One of the latter was the combat robot "Companion".
It is curious that the photographs from the Kalashnikov concern and the video from the Zvezda channel show different samples of promising technology. Apparently, the shooting of photographic and video materials was carried out at different times and with the participation of different prototypes, one of which became an improved version of the other. Anyway, both well-known variants of the Companion ALS are of great interest and deserve detailed consideration.
The product “Companion” is a universal tracked platform, protected from some threats and capable of carrying various special equipment. By installing some types of additional equipment, the multipurpose UAS can be adapted to solve specific problems. The samples presented to date have equipment that corresponds to the modification intended for the fire support of the troops and the conduct of other combat work related to the observation and attack of the enemy.
The main element of this platform is an armored body, which provides protection against small arms and other threats of a similar level. The body consists of armor plates of various shapes and sizes, connected at angles to each other. There is a curved upper frontal part placed at a large angle to the vertical, as well as inclined middle and lower front sheets. The side of the forehead has small cheekbones in the form of small parts of height. Side projection protection is provided by vertical sheets of the appropriate form. There are developed nadgusenichnye niches. Feed - vertical. In front of the horizontal section of the roof is placed a node for the installation of special equipment, such as a combat module, in the stern - the grating of the engine compartment.
BAS "Soratnik" is equipped with an internal combustion engine, placed, probably in the after part of the hull. Control of all systems of the power plant is carried out by automated means. With the help of the transmission installed next to the power plant, the engine torque is transmitted to the driving wheels of the stern accommodation.
The chassis of the two well-known prototypes has some differences associated with the use of different composition of additional shock absorbers. However, a number of units are used in both cases. The common features of the well-known "Companions" is a tracked undercarriage with five support rollers of small diameter on each side. Skating rinks are equipped with an individual torsion suspension. Vertical travel stops are also provided, not allowing the rollers of the rollers to rise above the horizontal position. The prototype from the photograph of the Kalashnikov concern had, in its undercarriage, hydraulic or pneumatic shock absorbers installed on all road wheels. TV channel "Star" showed the car with a single pair of similar devices that enhance the torsion bar of the front rollers.
At the rear of the hull, drive wheels of the lantern gear are placed. The guide wheels are placed on the nose assembly, which, as can be seen, are unified in design with the support rollers. To hold the upper branch of the caterpillar in the desired position, the chassis has two supporting rollers on each side.
The combat automated system “Companion” is equipped with remote control means, which imposes corresponding requirements on the composition of the onboard equipment. First of all, such a technique requires optical-electronic means to monitor the road while driving. To this end, the tracked platform carries two sets of cameras, placed on the forward and aft parts of the hull, on the longitudinal axis. To protect against various threats and the environment, the cameras are covered with polygonal shaped covers. In front of the camera protect the glass with the required parameters of strength.
On the sides of the front of the camera are two additional units of equipment necessary to monitor the situation. The equipment is placed in metal casings of complex shape, having wide slots for operation. One of the blocks is capable of scanning in the horizontal plane, the second - in the vertical. Interestingly, in the photo from the concern-developer, the prototype of the Companion BAS carries the horizontal viewing equipment to the left of the camera, while the second prototype received a different arrangement of blocks.
To ensure the communication of the remotely controlled machine and the operator’s console, there is a set of necessary electronic equipment on board. In addition, two antennas are attached to the rear of the chassis, providing data exchange in the form of sending video and telemetry, as well as receiving commands.
As conceived by the creators, the combat automated platform "Companion" can be used in different roles, for which it must carry the appropriate additional equipment. The samples of this technique were made in a combat configuration and carry weapons. The required weapon is proposed to be used together with a remotely controlled combat module mounted on the hull roof mounts.
The existing combat module has a U-shaped turntable, which is the main element of the whole structure. Between the side supports placed swinging unit with fixtures for the machine gun required model. The presented machines have the ability to equip PKT machine gun caliber 7,62 mm. To the right of the main supports is placed a box for placing ammunition. From him to the machine gun passes a curved metal tray for feeding the tape. On the left support of the module there is an optoelectronic equipment unit swinging synchronously with the weapon, which ensures the use of weapons at any time of the day.
In the first published photo of the “Companion”, the combat module did not have a machine gun, but carried some other additional equipment. On the upper part of the module supports there were two small frames with clamps for fastening grenade launchers. Thus, without significant design alterations, the combat automated system can be the carrier of both small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade weapons. This allows the operator to use various weapons, as well as to select its composition in accordance with the peculiarities of the upcoming operation.
A tracked platform with the ability to equip with various special equipment or weapons is capable of solving a wide range of combat and auxiliary tasks. Thus, the initial “combat” configuration can be used to conduct patrols of specified areas or guard objects. In this case, the task of the “Companion” will be movement along the established route and observation of the situation. If the target is found, the operator of the complex will be able to attack it using a machine gun or other weapon mounted on a combat robot.
Similarly, the Companion UAS can be used for reconnaissance or fire support of various units. If necessary, the reconnaissance and combat capabilities of the system can be expanded through its joint use with existing and future unmanned aerial vehicles. Such an application of various types of equipment will, first of all, facilitate the search for targets, which, in the first place, will be placed on the car in the air.
The combat automated system "Companion" is one of the latest domestic developments in the field of military robotics. At the same time, however, it is not the only system of this class created in our country. Over the past few years, the Russian defense industry has presented a number of land-based robotic systems for combat and auxiliary purposes. Multipurpose systems have been created that can fight the enemy, robots for engineering troops and other complexes for various purposes.
It should be noted that work is underway not only on robots in the traditional sense, but also on other systems with remote control. So, September 1 A. Krivoruchko told about plans to show the latest special weapons platform, controlled by the operator with the help of a remote control. The main element of this complex is a turret with weapons, optical-electronic equipment and remote control devices. As a weapon, a new product should use small arms like assault rifles or sniper rifles. With the help of the new complex it is proposed to organize the defense of various important objects.
Until recently, only a narrow circle of specialists directly related to their development knew about the projects of promising robotic combat systems from the Kalashnikov concern. Now the situation has changed. At first, the head of the organization spoke about new developments, and then they were presented at the exposition of the opened military-technical forum. The exhibition "Army-2016" will last until September 11. The first days the forum will work only for specialists, and from Friday will open the doors for everyone. Thanks to this, the general public will have the opportunity to see for the first time various samples of the latest technology, including the Sotovnik combat automated system.
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