Military Review

MechWarrior in Russian: Does the Robot Uran-9 Have a Future?

Future or past?

The term "robot" even in our high-tech century is very blurred. This is an autonomous device that makes its own decision, and the operator-controlled machine is, in fact, a remote-controlled battle tank. Such a robot is now the famous "veteran" of the Syrian war "Uran-9". It is controlled by a nearby operator. A person can control his “protégé” through video linking, complementing it with direct observation whenever possible.

Strictly speaking, there is nothing new in the combat robots themselves. Suffice it to say that all modern unmanned aerial vehicles can also be called "robots." And in 2014, the US military had at its disposal about ten thousand small UAVs alone. Ground-based robotic systems, too, will not seem like a novelty to a person interested in this topic. Even during the Second World War, the Germans actively used the crawler "Goliath". This is a small disposable wedge with explosive, which is controlled by the operator of the wire, which, of course, did not increase its combat potential. And she was slow and expensive.

Why is there so much informational noise around Uranus-9? Everything is simple and complicated at the same time. Before us, of course, is not a combat mech from a fantastic movie, but in terms of armament the Russian robot can compete with a heavy infantry fighting vehicle, and in some situations it is quite capable of dealing with the enemy a tank. Standard armament includes a 30mm 2A72 cannon and four Ataka anti-tank guided missiles. A solid arsenal.

But in practice, the robot is seen not so much as a “berserker” of the battlefield, but in the form of a reconnaissance-strike unit. However, this modest role, as is well known, does not come easily. The machine must meet the high requirements of modern warfare. It is likely that it will take years, if not decades, to determine the place of ground-based robotic systems in the combined arms structure.

Speaking specifically about the Russian army, there may simply be no time for “Uranus”. After all, she has yet to finalize the tasks for Terminators - the newly-managed BMIP / BMPT. By itself, the mass use of unmanned combat vehicles in the appendage to these vehicles (as well as to the very heterogeneous composition of the main battle tanks) is clearly not conducive to unification and will not benefit the armed forces. If we talk about the narrow application of "Uranium-9", for example, to eliminate unexploded ordnance, there are even more questions. In this case, the robot’s weapons seem completely redundant. Too large weight and size. Therefore, more successful examples of robot designs for such tasks can be called western SWORDS or Russian RTOs.

Syrian experience

Not so long ago, it became known that Uranus-9 was modernized based on the experience of its use in Syria. The robot additionally received twelve Bumblebee flame throwers: an updated version was shown at the site of the Army-2018 military-technical forum. Flamethrowers are assembled into two revolver-type launchers on the sides of the robot tower, each with six flamethrowers. The presented version has its own standard weapons in the face of the gun and anti-tank guided missiles.

One of the reasons for the modernization was the shortcomings, which were previously stated by experts of the third central research institute of the Ministry of Defense. They concerned management, mobility, firepower, as well as intelligence and monitoring functions. Experience has shown that with independent movement of “Uranus”, the low reliability of its undercarriage - support and guide rollers, as well as suspension springs - makes itself felt. Another problem is the unstable operation of the 30-millimeter automatic cannon, as well as malfunctions in the operation of the thermal channel of the optic sighting station.

But the ones described here, as well as some other problems that the media has focused on, are related to “childhood diseases”. That is, they can be eliminated over time. Much more unpleasant design flaw in the face of the radius of use, which is limited to several kilometers. In addition, the operator, even in the absence of interference and in general “ideal” communications, will not be able to perceive the surrounding reality as well as the crew of a combat vehicle. Of course, in a real war, no one will run after the robot, and the “blind” complex can be an easy target for the usual RPG-7. In general, the main conclusion of the report looks like this: in the next ten to fifteen years, ground-based combat robotic systems are unlikely to be able to fully carry out tasks in combat conditions. It's hard to argue with that.

Uranus-9: What's Next?

Not surprisingly, many rushed to “bury” the project, saying that it was a commonplace money theft. But in this case, the Armed Robotic Combat Vehicle (ARCV) complex developed by BAE Systems, which was recently presented in an updated form, will also have to be called "fraud." We are not talking about the strange Ukrainian "Phantom-2" (the chances of its mass production are scanty), as well as a number of similar developments from different countries of the world. Why are such complexes still on the agenda?

The current trend is quite obvious - more or less wealthy countries in the world are trying to make the war unmanned. On land, at sea and, of course, in the air. In this case, purely conceptually, with all its flaws, such systems as Uran-9 look better than a robot created on the basis of T-90, T-72 or any other main battle tank. In the latter cases, the machine will inherit from the manned version a number of completely unnecessary components and mechanisms, which will not allow to significantly reduce the weight and dimensions of military equipment. That is, initially designed as a guided vehicle, a tank will not come out to make an effective drone. It will be large, expensive, and most likely more vulnerable than a managed modification. So it is better in this case to use the new base.

In this sense, it is not possible to unequivocally call “Uranium-9” a waste of money. He gave Russian engineers invaluable knowledge of designing complex unmanned systems, and the military - a possible understanding of the place of such machines in the overall structure of the army of the future. Of course, Uran-9 itself is unlikely to become something revolutionary, and foreign customers are most likely not interested in this machine due to its price and the technical problems described above. But, again, all of the above is relevant for a number of other unmanned combat vehicles that are currently undergoing tests.

So what will be the combat robot of the future, which will come (if it comes) to replace the tank? Probably, we will not see large two-legged bellows: such a concept makes the car unnecessarily complicated, vulnerable and expensive. More likely is the appearance of a tracked platform, comparable in size and size to the Uran-9 complex. However, it will probably already be controlled not by an operator, but by an artificial neural network.

The latter raises a number of new moral and ethical issues, and also raises the question of the banal security of the allied forces. However, all this is a separate topic for discussion. We note another thing: when an AI appears that people can trust in their lives, the Uranus-9 design will probably have time to become obsolete, and here the experience gained from its creation can be useful. For a new car. Some, by the way, say that the place of the usual guns or anti-tank guided missiles will be occupied by the so-called weapon on new physical principles, for example, combat lasers or railguns. But it is here that everything looks even less certain than with robots like “Uranium-9”.

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  1. Graz
    Graz 1 October 2018 06: 34
    normal transition model along the path of evolution of this direction,
    maybe I’ll say loudly
    for example, how the transition from English rhombic tanks to Renault ft 17
    1. yehat
      yehat 1 October 2018 12: 21
      so what's normal? instead, a trunk demonstrator would massively implement at least one simple transport platform on which operational problems could be tested. Would make a backup evacuation system or remote movement of armor without a crew (for example, BMP). And this nonsense on the tracks, in my opinion, is the most banal cut.
    2. Vita vko
      Vita vko 1 October 2018 14: 24
      Quote: Graz
      transition model

      Transitional to what? And what can be normal in a system of equal cost T-72?
      Modern optronics, communication systems, weapons, control and guidance systems account for 50 to 80% of the cost of armored vehicles. You need to have a very "rich imagination" to place all this on a transport platform, weak in security, weak in cross-country ability and stability.
      Recently there was an article about upgrading the T-72M3 to the level of a robotic tank system.
      It is immediately obvious that competent engineers took into account the experience of the combat use of Uranium-9 in Syria and realized that this direction is deadlock for the troops, and for special operations it is extremely doubtful.
      1. Vladimir 5
        Vladimir 5 1 October 2018 20: 24
        It is not necessary to interrupt the development of Uranus-9 and others by a decision in favor of one option, it must be understood that the tasks will be different, and the means for solving them must also be different. On the basis of the tank, in the field it is clearly preferable, in cramped urban and other places, there are more needed middle classes (such as Uranus) complexes. Ultralight systems for 100-200kg and with interchangeable different weapons are also needed ...
    3. Setrac
      Setrac 2 October 2018 20: 36
      Quote: Graz
      normal transition model along the path of evolution of this direction,

      This "evolution" has already passed the manned tanks, there is no need to go on a rake again.
  2. l7yzo
    l7yzo 1 October 2018 08: 10
    very strange are the eyes (infrareds) and other devices for receiving the surrounding reality and observation. The prototype finally has a direct target for snipers. And the current one is in a ricocheting place.
    And yes, finally, with electronics, it’s a mess - that in aviation (there is no normal automation for responding to missile attacks and automation of ship protection), that’s the same problem.
    And yet all the same, Elbrus, as it has been unstable since the days of the USSR, remains so. Gentlemen, developers - maybe all the same if such amounts are already a quartz percent and immediately programs for it and the periphery ?? And it’s like we’re being declared that now we have our own architecture and peripherals and a lot of slippage and rolling. In the meantime, at the time of development, there are a lot of old and very interesting architectures and most importantly they are stable and reliable, and some allow, in cooperation with optical loops, to make a very noisy and noisy protected contraption.
    1. Mestny
      Mestny 1 October 2018 12: 16
      Break-in, not roll-out.
      And yes, take the trouble to explain what it is - "quartz percent"
  3. Leonid Har
    Leonid Har 1 October 2018 08: 44
    Well, with the "shaitan-machines" kamikaze - "Uranus 9" would have coped.
  4. san4es
    san4es 1 October 2018 09: 03
    BAE Systems complex Armed Robotic Combat Vehicle (ARCV), which recently presented in an updated form
    National Engineering Center for Robotics-Testing Unmanned Ground Combat Vehicles Black Knight ........ mar. 2013 year
    1. vargo
      vargo 1 October 2018 12: 13
      This is something hasty and it’s not clear why it was created so early ...
      The tower behind the roller never turned, and its design seems to be fake (as if drawn from the edge), although this may of course be the quality of the video. The distance between the tower and the rear raised part, it seems to me, will interfere with any turn of the tower.
      These 4 lidars (as I understand it) look a little wild. The mobility of these mechanisms during a clash is also very unlikely, because the main lesson will be in the frontal part.
      The gun also did not fire. The entire movie is more likely marketing no more.
      1. san4es
        san4es 1 October 2018 14: 37
        Quote: vargo
        ... The entire movie is more likely marketing no more.

        ... 2nd series thereof: recourse

        15 Mar. 2017 g
      2. san4es
        san4es 1 October 2018 16: 49
        Quote: vargo
        ... The distance between the tower and the rear raised part, it seems to me, will interfere with any turn of the tower ....
        .... The gun also did not fire.

        hi ...Cm. from 1.55 min ... And lidars, it’s for sure from the Google mobile (the 1st sample) smile

        Mar. 2008 ........ hi
        1. psiho117
          psiho117 3 October 2018 14: 09
          some heresy ... what if a branch or brick fell to the tower? There is a gap a couple of centimeters from the force, it will jam to hell!
        2. vargo
          vargo 10 October 2018 10: 50
          Yeah, I see it’s spinning) Thanks for the video.
  5. Yrec
    Yrec 1 October 2018 09: 32
    While such "robots" can be used against an enemy that does not have electronic warfare systems. Otherwise, the operator-robot communication will be under threat all the time. The pile of "bumblebees" suggests that Uranus-9 is intended to break through the defenses in populated areas. So many "bumblebees" will easily trample the midfielder. There, the distance to the operator is 200-300 m and you don't use electronic warfare much. But you just need to remove the attached weapons in the bulletproof casings, otherwise half of it will not reach the point of use.
  6. Army soldier2
    Army soldier2 1 October 2018 10: 38
    What is the article about? That "However, it will probably no longer be operated by an operator, but an artificial neural network."?
    The next sofa author with an itch of writing.
    1. Mestny
      Mestny 1 October 2018 12: 17
      Moreover, the author, absolutely not owning the question.
      Without an idea - who controls what and how now.
  7. Bypassed
    Bypassed 1 October 2018 13: 20
    So what's new here?
    Belarus already demonstrated such robots at a military parade in 2018 (Belarusian production).
  8. Seld
    Seld 1 October 2018 14: 43
    For everyone who wants to sit at the wheel of a real tank robot and shoot at a "live" virtual fighter, I recommend installing the extremely famous shooter "M .... r T .... s"; afterwards to buy a normal computer with good production characteristics (up to the TOP) and a high-quality monitor. And for a complete "immersion" - a set of tank levers, seat and so on. with a quality VR headset. It turns out very realistic. Expensive, really ... And you can, in principle, somewhere in something imagine and understand how a real battle between robots controlled by ...... OFFICERS-GAMERS might look like! 8-))))) There was such a cartoon as UAV operators to "poyuzat" gamers ....
    1. Horse, people and soul
      Horse, people and soul 1 October 2018 18: 29
      I advise everyone who wants to get adrenaline not to sit on the couch "in tanks", but to find the IPSC / IPSC shooting club nearby and shoot matches in practical shooting from weapons that are closer to the soul from large-caliber pistols and revolvers to self-loading carbines and shotguns. In motion, with obstacles, from awkward positions and for a while.

      Expensive ... but it's worth it!
  9. Horse, people and soul
    Horse, people and soul 1 October 2018 18: 20
    Pot idea, given the still respected moral and ethical urges, robots must destroy other robots or even equipment where people sit. And we did not call you here on this technique. And in response to firing weapons. Potatoes didn’t come to the festival on a peaceful tractor. So ... whoever comes with the BALL is from the BALL and ... well, they know, not for the first time.

    In such a form as Uranus-9 is now there, it is only a means to break in a robotic self-propelled console on a remote control.

    The final product will, apparently, be a flock of robots for various purposes, including UAVs, which a person will set a task, and the flock will distribute the steps of its implementation among themselves. What one robot sees - all others see it. Moreover, as the destruction of such robots by the enemy, the task will be redistributed automatically. Dynamically. Man will not have time to react. Whoever sees better (one hundred eyes in a flock of robots against blind spots in a single robot on a remote control), who is faster (automatic collection of telemetry and sensor readings, recalculation of the optimal distribution of a task against human data transmission and execution of orders) - he survived. Consider won.

    The robot must be cheap, maintainable, small, massive in number and diverse in functions and environment (ground, assault, sappers, tow trucks, UAVs, etc.).

    A person does not have to control the robot, because then the robot turns into a blind and slow one, that is, into a good target.

    There have been some achievements in the joint work of robots since Soviet times for anti-ship missiles.

    For ground robots, everything will be much more complicated. They must pass over rough terrain, seek shelter, damaged ones must be evacuated (automatically), etc.
  10. Blackgrifon
    Blackgrifon 1 October 2018 21: 30
    A small complaint to the author, and more precisely to the title of the article: MechWarrior is the name of a series of games about MANAGED combat robots (the operator is located directly inside the machine.). Otherwise, thanks for the stuff.
  11. Seryozha Timofeev
    Seryozha Timofeev 2 October 2018 06: 54
    And here MehVario? I had this game on Sega, back in the 96th, so Mechs are healthy two-legged robots, like "Igorka"))) Only hung with cannons
  12. IImonolitII
    IImonolitII 2 October 2018 11: 49
    Add - it is obvious that bumblebees are not collected in turret launchers, but in batch.
    Such errors suggest thoughts about the competence of the author.
  13. Leomobil
    Leomobil 2 October 2018 22: 32
    In defense of "Uranus-9" - the experience of creating such complexes makes it possible with a high degree of probability to determine the capabilities of a potential enemy's robots! Accordingly, it makes it possible to develop a methodology for their destruction (this is not money down the drain). Only by plunging headlong into this topic, you can predict the trends in the development of remote control weapons, that is, until we ourselves jump on the rake, no one will tell you. The army (military) is not able to formulate a decent TU (for various reasons), it all boils down to either "batman - bring give" or "wunderwaffe" with guns in all directions "underwater space mole with a nuclear engine" (batteries are expensive now). But the constructors are not in the best situation either. Take my word for it (I have no strength to argue!) One of the main reasons for the failure of Uranus-9 is the lack of small arms (melee weapons) that meet the requirements of ASBU (automated combat control system). And all these groans about Isk.Int. only excuses for sponsors and nothing more. Any attempts to create alternative shooting systems other than the "Kalashnikov assault rifle" are HERES to the tenth degree. But one thing is already pleasing, I saw the Uranus command and control vehicle, an excellent, well-thought-out technique with a long-term perspective, where there were no sectarian gunsmith designers, everything is more than decent.
  14. Radikal
    Radikal 5 October 2018 12: 45
    ... is there a future for the Uranus-9 robot
    There is! In the Patriot Park. winked
  15. viktorch000
    viktorch000 10 October 2018 16: 41
    how many can be called remotely controlled drones - robots,? uranium is precisely the drone on the joystick, its prospects are like the atmosphere of uranium, nothing is visible
    like running a platform - quite like a means for reconnaissance in battle against the broads at a short distance - the same will work, well, actually

    until developed, they dash the normal automation of these uraniums, they don’t shine anything, even with uranium, even with plutons or jupiters,
    and while controlling this shushpanzer at the level of first-generation drones, even an autopilot cannot do normal, so that the car would even roll back in case of a loss of communication, about repeaters, the modularity of the electronic body kit (and not the trunks, what’s the third thing) is not even talking

    ps as the first pancake, uranium is quite quite, taking it into service is simply not serious
  16. Wened
    Wened 27 November 2018 05: 04
    MechWarrior in Russian: Does the Robot Uran-9 Have a Future?

    If it is an amphibian, with the possibility of landing from an airplane, together with a control point anywhere in the country, then there is a future.
  17. riwas
    riwas 4 December 2018 07: 58
    Remote-controlled vehicles are unreliable under interference.
    Abroad, much attention is paid to the use of a robot (intelligence equipment + AI) not instead of a person, but to help him.
  18. tank64rus
    tank64rus 23 December 2018 12: 25
    A model of a multifunctional combat robotic complex consisting of two Uran-2018 and a BMOP with two operators and a UAV, a central control center (RF Patent No. 9. December 2658517, 8.12) was presented at the Army 2016. The use of reactive infantry flamethrowers in armored vehicles (RF Patent No. 2399859 1.10 2008). So that development is underway and Uranus-9 and BMOF have good prospects for the development of the complex, especially since they have similar weapons and the control issue is being addressed in the complex.