The next Collegium of the Ministry of Defense devoted to several major problems, including the development and introduction of combat robotic equipment to the troops, Army General Serey Shoigu did not spend in Moscow, but on the road - near St. Petersburg, at the 19 test site of the Armed Forces, more known from the service people as "Rzhevka". It was here, and not in the office, that it was possible and necessary to look in action and analyze the effectiveness of everything that the defense industry offers today the defense industry and its leading institutions.
Nearly two hundred generals, admirals, colonels, civil servants of the Ministry of Defense, directors of defense enterprises and military research institutes, designers, engineers, technicians and, as is customary recently, individual members of the Public Council arrived and flew to Rzhevka. And, of course, journalists - writing and filming. Only from First Throne two full planes. At the same time, what is interesting, all the official employees of the military department, including women, were in the new headquarters, or, as it is also called, office, uniform. The khaki colors, which are supposed to be worn to the generals, black, as befits sailors, and a blue wave, which makes aviators related to the sky.
Government employees were free to choose the color of the form at their discretion. They chose. With shoulder straps, which differed from the army silver edging along the edges of the shoulder strap. If you are not used to it, you will not immediately understand who is standing in front of you - rank 1 State Counselor or Colonel General of one of the armies of the CIS countries. But nothing, I think. It will take time - get used to distinguish.
CHOOSE FOR TASTE
Of course, the new office uniform was not the main attraction at Rzhevka. The main ones were robotic systems, which defense industry workers represented to the collegium. See it was what. Here and remotely controlled complexes of radiation and chemical reconnaissance, which are able to detect gamma radiation in hard to reach places, even climb the stairs of a residential building, robotic systems for conducting reconnaissance and detection of enemy hidden objects, including fire strikes, machines for inspections of premises, basements, caves, car bottoms, detection of potentially explosive objects. A large list of engineering machines for demining, jamming, evacuation of damaged equipment or the wounded from the battlefield. A large cage of sea surface and underwater robots capable of searching and destroying mines and torpedoes hiding in bays and straits, hitting targets on the coast captured by the foe, transmitting information to the command center about everything seen and discovered. And, of course, drones. Winged and wingless, that is, helicopter type.
Each of the directors of research institutes and defense enterprises called the Minister of Defense to himself, suggested that he look at and evaluate the equipment presented by his organization. One of his colleagues, a member of the Public Council, shared with the author of these lines the impression that this was similar to the oriental bazaar. Everyone was trying to catch the minister by the hand, bring them to their exposition, fell short and impose their goods on the buyer. Sergei Shoigu did not need to pull anywhere. He consistently passed from tent to tent, carefully examined the samples of robotics exhibited there, was interested in their tactical and technical characteristics, cost, and possible delivery times to the troops. Much of what was shown and offered to him did not stand up to criticism.
“How much do you say you need money to bring this car to mind?” - Shoigu asked one of the directors. - 30 million rubles? Yes, I will buy such a machine for the Children's World for the thirty-five.
On another occasion, he was outraged that the robot, which has already been put into service at the Emergencies Ministry and for which the Ministry of Emergency Situations has already paid the developers in full, requires as much money from the military for "reworking the army’s requirements."
“I will not pay for the same thing twice,” the minister snapped.
Either because of the minister’s harsh remarks to the developers of robotic technology, or for some other reason, journalists were cut off from the members of the Defense Ministry’s Board, referring to the fact that “secret developments” are further presented and, since they have not yet been adopted, write about them is not worth it. Especially not looking for military secrets to newspaper and television reporters. The absurdity of these statements was obvious even for amateurs. The absolute majority of what developers of robots presented to high-ranking guests has long been successfully demonstrated at international arms exhibitions. And autonomous mine detectors and 10 robotic trawls of recent years, if not more, are working in Cambodia, Angola, in Vietnam, in other countries of Southeast Asia and Africa, on which the war has swept. Only for the public, they are again "a secret behind seven seals." Maybe because to show it all in public, where experts can be, to put it mildly, very embarrassing. Truly, where something is hidden, hidden from shame.
Then, when the leadership of the army and fleet climbed to the central tower of the landfill, at the "Rzhevka" a demonstration of the real capabilities of the complexes presented at the exhibition began. First, several drones took off into the sky. What they transferred and where, one could only guess. But the robotic complex MRK-002-BG057 drove into the field - as it is indicated in the booklet, but in reality it is a wedge heel with a 12,7 mm Kord machine gun, a laser range finder, a thermal imager and a ballistic computer. In addition, he has a hydrostabilizer. A series of bursts, and an old Opel set at a distance of a hundred and a few meters, was stitched with machine-gun bursts, like a sieve.
Immediately on the wooden house that the field team lined up on the edge of the display area, with a burst of 47-mm grenades crashed into a tiny, barely visible remotely controlled shock module above the ground. There were several explosions, the house was covered with a white cloud of smoke, but when it dissipated, half of the building was no longer visible. The second was reeling, although it was standing.
Another object was fired by remotely controlled percussion systems, and, while it was burning, a fire-fighting robot drove to it. Raised the bar with a hose fixed on it, a powerful jet of carbon dioxide - and the flame was gone. Tow trucks went to the "attack". One of them caught the broken "Volga", the other went to "save" the unfinished wooden house. The speakers were not enough, but what will you take from the robots? They alone do not fight.
A similar picture was demonstrated to the minister and members of the board at a sand pit, flooded with water, sea research institutes of robotics. There, a deserted remote-controlled boat "Typhoon" was looking at the bottom of the reservoir simulator anchor mine. On the monitor displayed in the leadership tent, it was visible how his optoelectronic devices of the remote-controlled uninhabited underwater vehicle “Gnome” detect this mine, and on command from the shore (it can also be fed from the ship’s position 7 miles) lowers an explosive device on it, retreats to a safe distance and undermines the "enemy" projectile. By the way, as one of the payload options on the boat, a side-scan sonar created at the Tikhomirov NIIP can be installed. In May of this year, with the help of such a sonar, Russian divers discovered the C-9 submarine commanded by Captain 3 of rank Alexander Mylnikov at the bottom of the Gulf of Finland near the Bolshoy Tyuters Island.
In addition to "Typhoon" on the lake surface, including under water, there was a remote-controlled uninhabited underwater vehicle "Galtel", an uninhabited underwater vehicle "Gaviya", which are designed to carry out search and survey operations in an autonomous mode according to a given program at a depth of up to a thousand meters . And the amphibious remote-controlled floating platform “Argo”, which descended from the shore into the water, found targets on the opposite slope of the lake and, at the command of the operator, opened fire on them with an 7,62 mm machine gun and RPG-26 anti-tank grenade launchers. It is hardly worth mentioning that all the targets for which the laser range finder and thermal imager were aiming, of course, were amazed. People (specialists from scientific research institutes) for a few days were preparing to show the Minister of Defense all the best that they have, and they, like their products, of course, did not let them down.
True, to be honest, there were no visible systems to counter the robots and the people who controlled them at the test site, as well as electronic warfare systems, which can be cut down by the control systems of robotic equipment in real combat. But the show is a show. It is difficult to approach him with the requirements of this battle.
Nevertheless, it is not necessary to say that Army General Sergei Shoigu was fascinated by all that he was shown. In the open part of the college, where journalists were also present, he sharply criticized the developers of robotic systems, demanded that they speed up their work at least two or three times.
- Who remembers how long our enterprises have created robots to eliminate the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant? The minister asked.
The hall was silent. Then he continued:
- Per year. They also managed to develop a technical task, develop R & D and OCRs and produce these robots that participated in concreting, cleaning the territory from radioactive debris, and building a sarcophagus over the blasted reactor. Everything about everything for 12 months. And now we are offered to finish the work in 17, 18 and 20. Well, how can this be? There is a feeling that they (the developers. - VL) relish their work. We need robots today, ”Shoigu stressed. - Who is not ready to do them, tell me straight. We find those who do.
The Deputy Minister of Defense Colonel-General Oleg Ostapenko, who delivered a report on the development of robotics, stated that "intensive work is being carried out in the armies of leading foreign countries to develop and implement combat robotic systems." More than 27 thousands of robotic complexes are currently used in the world, he said, they are actively used in armed conflicts.
General Ostapenko reminded those present that "special forces have been created in the Western armies, equipped with robotic means and maintenance systems." According to the deputy minister, in the US armed forces it is planned to bring the share of unmanned vehicles to 2020% of the total number of combat vehicles by 30. And he called the main problem of Russia "the practical lack of coordination in the development of robotic systems."
Addressing the minister, Ostapenko noted that in the army and the navy, work was organized on the development of a large integrated target program for the creation of special-purpose robotics up to 2025. “When forming the PCP project, first of all, the real needs of the types and types of troops were taken into account. The list of research and development for the creation of military robots was determined, an inventory of the scientific and technical reserve in this area was carried out, ”he said and added that“ at present, the CPC project has been formed and sent to the troops for approval. ”
The Ministry of Defense proposes, in particular, to approve this document and take it into account when implementing the state defense order, organize the development of a concept for the use of military robotics, and organize the training of specialists for the operation of robotic complexes. In fact, to introduce into the psychology of commanders the “robotized consciousness”, the desire to achieve victory in battle not by humans, but with the help of deserted technologies - by robots.
And, probably, as a hint that if someone does not cope with their work, the military will find those who can do it quickly and efficiently, Sergei Shoigu signed with the rector of the St. Petersburg National Research University of Information Technologies, Mechanics and Optics Vladimir Vasiliev agreement on cooperation in scientific, technical and educational cooperation. If someone does not know, we recall that the students of this university for the fifth year in a row become world champions in programming. The Minister of Defense really wants these guys to start working for the defense of the country and for the military department.
“I hope very much,” said Shoigu, “that graduates of this university will come to the Armed Forces both for urgent and contract service after graduation.”