Russia touts military robots following war games – Yahoo News
Russia deployed “attack drones” and “tracked robots” in recent war games for the first time, according to a top defense official.
“A system of putting out of order a swarm of a hypothetical enemy's attack drones at a distance was employed successfully,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday, per state media. "Remote-controlled tracked robots performed quite well in coping with the task of destroying enemy manpower in urban conditions.”
Russian officials have been conducting a major annual exercise known as Zapad 2021, a series of military drills that NATO allies watch with unease due to the risk that troops mobilizing under cover of the war games will launch a surprise attack in eastern Europe. Yet, Shoigu's comment suggests that Russian officials are eager to keep pace with military technology and tactics innovations, particularly as the United States develops similar weaponry.
"Central to the exercise were new forms and methods of conducting combat operations with due regard for the special features of current local wars and armed conflicts,” Shoigu said.
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The drone swarm is at the cutting edge of military technology. Israel is the only military known to have used a drone swarm, which is a contingent of unmanned vehicles that “communicate and collaborate … form[ing] a single, integrated weapon system guided by some form of artificial intelligence,” as Defense One recently explained — in actual combat.
However, U.S. officials touted a successful test of a drone swarm earlier this year.
“Just yesterday, we successfully teamed air and surface manned and unmanned capability to put [an SM-6 missile] well past over the horizon from [the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS] John Finn on a target, and it struck the target very, very successfully,” U.S. Navy Rear Adm. James Aiken told reporters in April.
That boast suggests why Russia would be keen to neutralize a swarm and develop their own unmanned arsenal.
“Many things were tested in practice,” Shoigu said.
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The size of those drills and the novelty of the weapons used caught the attention of European defense officials.
“We have no doubts that Russia is very determined to regain the stage as a global power,” said Polish Lt. Gen. Tomasz Piotrowski Wednesday at the Warsaw Security Forum. “When Russia plans to execute exercises, we suffer a lot, not only during the exercises … [and this exercise] was bigger than Zapad 2020 and 2019 — not by the number of troops, but for sure by the capabilities that were used, types of units, such as airborne, special forces, maritime and others.”
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