Russia Says It Will Field a Robot Tank that Outperforms Humans

The Russian "Nerehta" ground robot.

A colonel who runs a research directorate says the Nehreta did well in recent exercises at proving grounds outside Moscow.

The Russian military will field a new armed tank-like robot that “outperformed” manned platforms in recent exercises at the Alabino proving grounds outside Moscow.

That’s what Col. Oleg Pomazuev told the Russian news site “Military Review” in late October. Pomazuev runs the Department of Innovation Research at the Russian military’s Main Directorate of Research Activities, or GUNID.  

The robot, called the Nerehta, can carry a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun or an AG-30M grenade launcher. The Russian colonel did not say which manned platforms the Nerehta outperformed, but among his service’s vehicles of similar size and armament are the BRDM reconnaissance vehicle and GAZ Tigr.

Russians are testing a wide variety of UGVs, from small IED-disposal robots up to large armed ones, said Samuel Bendett, an associate research analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses’ International Affairs Group.

“They have also been stating for a while that their modernization and state armaments program will include high-tech and unmanned systems,” Bendett said.

He noted that Russian forces tested small unmanned ground vehicles, including the Nerehta-like Platforma-M during last September’s Zapad-2017 exercises in Belarus.

The Russian military has also created a larger semi-autonomous tank called the T-14, which sports a remotely operated turret.

Half a world away, unmanned ground vehicles are also on the mind of Gen. Mark Milley, chief of staff of the U.S. Army. Trends in autonomy and robotic battle systems are proceeding faster than many realize, Milley said Tuesday at the Army’s CyCon event in downtown Washington, D.C.

“We are in a period of time, historically, where you are getting a convergence of a wide variety of technologies. We are at the leading edge of that,” said Milley. “In combination, I guarantee that they are changing and will change the fundamental character of war.”

“You have a lot of changes in mechanical engineering, in robotics. So autonomous systems, or semi-autonomous, they are already here. They have arrived. They have not proliferated in wide use, yet. They will be, very, very shortly. Within a matter of years, you will see widespread use of robots.”

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