What kind of shock robot tank “Shturm” based on the T-72 is being tested in Russia?

robot tank

For the past three weeks, Russia has been on the front pages of the media. And now we have received new information, according to which a shock robot tank is being developed in Russia based on the T-72 tank.
Preliminary tests of the first prototype of the Russian heavy attack robot Shturm, created on the basis of the T-72, will begin in April. This was reported by a source in the military-industrial complex. During the tests, firing at test targets will be carried out, including from a 125-mm shortened gun.

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Technologies “Armata”
The project is created by order of the Ministry of Defense “Uralvagonzavod”. Sturm uses a significant amount of automation equipment for the T-14 Armata tank, which was also planned to be produced in an unmanned version. However, later it was decided that the less modern, but cheaper and more affordable T-72B3 platform would become the basis for the new tank robot.

The Sturm project includes four types of combat vehicles. The first is a main battle tank weighing 50 tons, in which a 125-mm cannon with a shortened barrel is installed. The second is a fire support combat platform, on which missiles or systems of the Shmel-M type (a rocket-propelled infantry flamethrower with a thermobaric warhead) will be installed. The third is a robotic version of the Terminator fire support vehicle with two 30mm cannons. Unlike the regular Terminator, the robotic fire support vehicle will not use anti-tank missiles, but will instead use thermobaric missiles. And the fourth vehicle is a robotic version of the TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system.

Each of the robotic vehicles will be equipped with active protection, a bulldozer blade and a remote-controlled 7.62mm machine gun. The vehicles will be protected from anti-tank attacks, will be able to overcome obstacles and blockages, and fire back for self-defense.

Unmanned vehicles are supposed to be made as autonomous as possible, with secure communication systems, self-defense programs in case of jamming or interception of the control signal.

All machines of the Shturm robotic complex are designed to operate both at the forefront directly in the combat formations of units, and autonomously, in separate directions. When conducting a mobile defense autonomously, they can be used in fire ambushes, to cover the joints and flanks. In the offensive, heavy-class attack robotic tanks are planned to be used as a forward echelon of battle formation, for reconnaissance in force, as a means of fire support during combat in urban areas, in dense infrastructure development.

How to manage?
The unit will be controlled by command vehicles, which are also based on the T-72. It is assumed that one command vehicle will be able to control three robots at a distance of up to 3 km. Groups of autonomous combat vehicles will be combined into a robotic platoon, such a unit works similarly to a conventional tank platoon. The presence of several robots networked will give a more reliable connection to the control center, while providing mutual cover for combat units. Nothing is reported about the level of autonomy of combat vehicles, experts suggest that robotic vehicles will have autonomous functions for independent movement, maneuvering and avoiding obstacles.

Self-defense should also be automatic, for this the tank will receive active protection sensors. Robotic combat vehicles will also be equipped with navigation and self-guidance systems, “friend or foe” systems. The remaining functions are likely to be controlled by operators.

Application problems
Now the level of technology allows you to create many military vehicles with remote control systems, artificial intelligence elements for reconnaissance, mine clearance, and work in dangerous conditions. Robots on the battlefield will save the lives of soldiers and crews of combat vehicles. Nevertheless, there is no mass use of robots in military conflicts yet. This is due to the complexity of operation, since a failed robot is almost impossible to repair in the field. Robotic systems are not effective enough in combat, as artificial intelligence has difficulty assessing the situation. Such systems still need a live operator who can solve non-standard problems. Jamming communication or intercepting a control signal can lead to a complete loss of control over the “robot unit”.

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