Discussions about how to be a soldier of the XXI century do not calm down. Some experts predict the creation in the foreseeable future, even biorobots and invulnerable cyborgs. But everyone agrees on one thing: the soldier of the future must first of all be reliably protected from bullets and shrapnel. The main thing - to save the life of a soldier in a combat situation. How feasible is this task in terms of economic and technological sanctions from the West?
The domestic defense industry complex (DIC) still retains a serious dependence on imported components, whose share in the production of some weapons and military equipment (AME) reaches 80 percent. This is especially noticeable in the creation of a microelectronic component base. Increasingly, chips, microprocessor technology used in combat equipment systems.
Impulse from Shoigu
Over the past time there have been few serious changes in this direction. But two years ago, things got off the ground - the order was issued by the Military Industrial Commission under the government of the Russian Federation to create an interdepartmental working group on the development of second-generation combat gear for military personnel. He was signed by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. The document allowed to unite the leading developers and customers of equipment with a single task, to ensure a direct dialogue between the designer and the operator.
I happened to see the results at FSUE TsNIITOCHMASH, where new products of this institute, Kalashnikov concern, OJSC Plant named after V. A. Degtyarev (ZID), CJSC FORT Technology, Municipal Institute of Engineering Physics (IIF) were presented RF), FARADEY Company CJSC, Tula OJSC weapons Plant ”(TOZ), a number of other domestic manufacturers of military equipment and small arms. Many, if not all of these products are created at the expense of enterprises or on the personal initiative of developers. Although back in 2011, such issues were resolved with a scratch or were not resolved at all. Then there simply did not exist a legal framework that would allow us to create technical innovations under this scheme, to take them into service.
Today, the Military-Industrial Commission under the Government of the Russian Federation has approved the rules for the development of weapons and military equipment and combat equipment on a proactive basis at defense enterprises, has adopted a decision. The industry received approval to create them according to the user's patterns.
FSUE "TsNIITOCHMASH" - the lead developer of military equipment in Russia. Weapons are being tested here, new models are being created, protection systems are being created, and all rifle complexes being used are being tested. An enterprise with almost 70-year history has a full bench base. A new impetus to the work of the institute was given by the visit of the Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu 17 in January 2014.
Vladimir Lepin, General Designer on wearable weapons and military equipment of servicemen, says that for the last two years, the institute, together with industrial enterprises and customers, has been working under the name “Warrior”. This is a whole system of weapons and combat equipment. The transfer of video information from the sight to the eyeglass indicator at the “Warrior”, for example, is carried out in a wireless mode. A communication system allows the soldier to communicate with the command and colleagues at the tactical level. Today, TsNIITOCHMASH in this direction has reached the final stretch.
But not everything turned out to be as simple as it seemed at first. At the first stage, within the framework of the “Warrior” program, the main tasks were solved, but soon competitors and counter-partners in the West had new materials and technologies, and we have no right to lag behind. All of this, as well as the need to create modern weapons systems, were somewhat reflected in the timing of completion of state tests. If earlier they were scheduled for November 2013 of the year, then now 2014 should finally be completed in June.
Some components for combat equipment had to be developed on a proactive basis and in accordance with the latest wishes of users. For example, lightweight transparent shops for small arms, which were not only in the usual units of the Russian army, but also in special forces. Now they have appeared and, apparently, will be in great demand.
A special conversation about the new combat equipment, which aroused the genuine interest of specialists with its simply futuristic look. The head of the commercial service of FORT Technology CJSC, Alexander Andrianov, confidentially explained that far from all of its samples one can say something concrete, this is confidential information. For example, on the characteristics of military equipment called "Legionnaire" or on the equipment "Sherp" for mining units. We managed to learn something about the Centurion and Gladiator combat kits, which, along with Sherp and Legionnaire, were shown right there.
The equipment of the soldier of the future includes systems of destruction, life support, protection, power supply, communications. All these new types of equipment are intended primarily for special units. But after running in, it is quite possible that they will find their place in the “Warrior”.
The same "Centurion" was developed for internal troops, but already supplied to the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. It consists of a bulletproof vest that provides protection for the 5 class on the chest, back and sides. Surprisingly, he is able to withstand even a hit of the 5,45 caliber and 7,62 caliber millimeter bullets in the armored panel, as well as some bullets from a SVD sniper rifle. Outside the armored armor's projection, the vest protects against 9-mm bullets when firing a PM pistol and an Uzi submachine gun, a Stechkin pistol with a bullet speed of up to 390 meters per second. The Centurion delays splinters in tissue areas (apron, shoulders, collar, vest itself) flying at speeds up to 550 meters per second.
The vest is modular, you can put on additional protection (shoulders, apron, collar), remove if necessary or combine, leaving only armor. Strengthen the protection is also possible plates of the 2 class.
Aramid overalls can withstand hitting grenades, mines or shells. It is anti-cutting, consists entirely of non-combustible materials, keeps the temperature up to 1000 degrees or open flame for 30 seconds. It has ventilating valves with a zipper to cool the undersuit space, which is especially important when operating in a hot climate, mountain-desert terrain.
The helmet, in turn, protects against 9-mm pistol bullets, is radioed, weighs 1 kilograms 400 grams and has 14 decimeter area. It was developed for a specific radio acoustic system, a close shot of a pistol, which is most critical for customers. In its manufacture, as well as in the production of armored plates, import dependence still remains. At the same time, there is a design of a multi-layered spaced structure patented by us; a domestic material is used - aramid. Now developers are working to reduce the weight of the helmet and a half.
Another set of combat equipment called "Gladiator" is designed for assault operations. This is an even more serious set of remedies. The helmet is designed specifically for active headphones, which, in turn, protect hearing during close shells, min. The kit includes a laryngophone, a microphone, a radio station.
"Gladiator" is supplied to the special purpose service of the FSB of Russia. An assault vest in it is of modular type, class 6А with protection of the chest, back, sides. You can change the degree of protection, remove some panels, aprons, collar, shoulders. The unloading system is sewn on a vest and provides for various pockets, pouches, which allows you to get away from the classic "unloading".
Included in the kit are splinterproof overalls to protect against shards flying at speeds up to 300 meters per second. It is made entirely of non-combustible materials, provides protection at temperatures up to 1500 degrees for 30 seconds, from cuts under force of the tool up to 800 newton. This kit is not being supplied to the Ministry of Defense. Do not go well in the army in the short term, and other sets of combat gear of the "Legionnaire", "Sherpa", "Centurion". Basically they are designed for special forces and special operations.
In the Marine Corps, for example, a unique “Corsair MP” vest is already used - floating, non-inflatable, with protection on the chest - in the 5 class, on the back - in 2. Shoulders, apron, collar protect against 9-mm pistol bullets. The vest keeps a person afloat, even with 10-kilogram equipment. At hit of bullets does not lose buoyancy. It includes a pipe pack with an airtight bag for documents, signal lights, a set of pouches. The vest was successfully tested and delivered to the Navy since 2009. The manufacturer is ZAO FORT Technology (Moscow).
Its CEO, Sergei Sakharov, explained that some elements of combat equipment were not included in the second-generation kit, but they are promising. Moreover, manufacturers have now begun to create the equipment of the third generation, so the accumulated experience will certainly be in demand.
“What is the initiative of your development, its novelty, what is the dependence on imported components?” Dmitry Rogozin asked him. Sakharov replied that the dependence still persists, but less. For example, the main content of one of the vests is the base armor of a domestic design weighing 3,5 a kilogram per square meter, which provides protection against a direct hit of a bullet from a Stechkin pistol when fired at close range with a pressure of 10 kilograms. And inserts of ceramic panels in the vest are still imported.
In "FORT Technology" developed armor and less weight - 2,5 kilogram per square meter. It protects the chest, back, sides of the XNUMHA class, made entirely of Russian materials. The armor set as a whole closes the fighter even from the grenade launchers, the fragments of the RGD grenades. That is, engineers and designers are confidently moving forward, there are some unique developments, but the problem of import substitution has not yet been completely resolved. Including therefore, apparently, the newest means of protection in demand in the troops are not yet for mass introduction into the army. Serial production still requires significant allocations.
Dependence on imports is very sensitive for the Russian defense industry as a whole. Not for nothing, after visiting TsNIITOCHMASH, Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin returned to this problem in the context of Ukraine and the cooperative ties that were interrupted with it. He stressed that the most important thing now is to take measures on import substitution in all that relates to the production necessary for the defense industry. “This is a very important conclusion that has finally been made, and this shake-up can be very positive for our industry,” he said, adding that the appropriate solutions had been found.
In another product, while secret, intended for use mainly in mountainous terrain, the equipment material is completely domestic. Designed with one of the textile institutes, non-flammable, moisture resistant. It originally provided the mobility of the shoulder girdle and other components of the kit. As a result, improved ergonomics, facilitated long-term movement in the highlands.
It weighs only five kilograms without additional elements of protection, which are installed depending on the combat situation. But the pros know that some of them become parasitic when firing, lying down and starting to interfere elementarily. In this case, it was possible to solve the problem of easy detachment of such elements. The detachable shield has protection along with the 6А class vest, and if separate from the vest, then 5А. That is, it protects almost from the fire of all types of small arms. It uses Russian-made panels. In terms of ergonomics, a vest is significantly better than a monolithic panel.
The production volumes of the same JSC “FORT Technology” allow us to provide orders for at least special forces. However, dependence on imports, too, there is, as engineers, technologists, scientists have not yet managed to get the material with desired characteristics to create armor plates. On the other hand, in the Western armies, for example, there are no analogues of overalls developed in Russia that protect against fragments. From their raw materials it is impossible to create such a material, the composition of which is a commercial secret, although foreigners are trying to catch up with us. Following the recent completion of development projects in Russia will be established and the production of armor plates on the basis of boron carbide, thus reducing the weight of equipment. So the correspondence confrontation of the domestic defense industry with Western partners continues.
Approximately the same can be said about light armor, which contains the secrets of a three-component Russian aramid. Some of its elements still require additional refinement to become part of the equipment today, but success is not far off. Therefore, in the modernization of the “Warrior”, which is now underway, new armor protection components will be used without fail.
The state defense order for 2014 is planned to purchase several thousand sets of new combat equipment. If the program is not amended, the units of the Ground and Airborne Forces, the Marine Corps of the Russian Navy, and the Western Military District will be the first to receive such sets. Over the next five years, the Armed Forces must fully switch to new equipment.
Created at this stage, new components of body armor will be used in the equipment of the third generation. This was confirmed by the Deputy Chairman of the Military-Industrial Commission under the Government of the Russian Federation, Oleg Bochkarev. For this, Rostec and the holding company RT-Chemcomposite are preparing a large joint program to develop the missing domestic components for combat equipment, which will be sent for approval to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Not less than the protection kits were interesting and new weapons. In TSNIITOCHMASH designed, for example, special, cheaper ammo two calibers for the mass shooting training (pilot batch). The institute is waiting for a go-ahead to begin their combat tests.
A new pistol has been created in the caliber 9х19 - a continuation of the so-called CP series, which is necessary for special forces. Other models of small arms were also shown. Some of its samples have already been adopted by one or another power structure. In particular, 12,7-millimeter silent sniper complex "Exhaust" of the Central Design and Research Bureau of sports and hunting weapons (TsKIB SOO), which is especially effective at a distance of 300 meters. A whole range of cartridges, including those with armor-piercing, lead and other bullets, has been developed under it. After testing, the institute is ready to widely supply the Exhaust to the Armed Forces.
The other two sniper complexes, while without a name, are not only not inferior in terms of performance characteristics to Western models, but also surpass them. They were shown in new calibers. 8,6х69 - for shooting at a distance of 1200 meters. The rifle was developed for cartridges of this caliber, which is associated with the production of new primers, powders, bullets. That is, designers, engineers had to solve many related problems, including the installation of new optical systems of the Russian development. Next year they may be submitted to the customer - the Ministry of Defense for testing. When demonstration shooting was carried out at the institute, the head of the GRU, Igor Sergun, said that such sniper complexes fully meet the departmental requirements for accuracy and reliability of shooting, as well as optical systems. But at the same time he set a separate task - to develop an intelligent adaptive digital sight. A separate technical assignment has now been issued for it, which has also been agreed upon with the leadership of the special operations forces and the airborne forces. As it became known to the "MIC", the Ministry of Defense is ready to issue its TK to the new sniper complexes, after which the institute will begin, as it was figuratively noted, to combine iron with a clever eye.
Another line - new additional elements of attachments (the so-called kit) to the AK-74 and AK-74M. It gives the weapon a mass of useful functions, allows you to conduct aimed fire more effectively. Such a body kit developed by the Institute of Engineering Physics especially liked the Airborne Forces. So far, one cannot boast of a sufficient number of such weapons, although such improvements give it a second life. No wonder liked paratroopers kit machine appeared on the machine gun "Pecheneg", which as a result has become not harder but easier.
Positive emotions caused a new uniforms - part of the combat equipment. These are shoes with enhanced wear and frost resistance, warming underwear, waterproof socks with a new membrane manufacturing technology. Before our eyes, a man in camouflage put his foot in a container with water for five minutes, and then took it out completely dry. It turns out that in such socks the legs are not only not getting wet, but not sweating either, which is very important when operating on the march, in the mountain-desert terrain, in hot weather.
“Over the past two years, we have made a serious step towards a completely different quality of equipping servicemen for combat,” said Dmitry Rogozin. This is primarily about combat equipment "Warrior". The samples presented in TsNIITOCHMASH are mainly created within the framework of a private public partnership, which offers not only competitive, but also the most advanced solutions for equipping special forces.
The seen gives hope that in the near future in Russia will appear combat equipment entirely from domestic components. To do this, it is necessary to take care not only of strategic armaments, but also of equipping fighters who daily face the threat of terrorism. From orders for special forces, it will be necessary in the future to switch to mass supplies for the Armed Forces as soon as possible. After all, the life of a soldier and an officer is priceless.