The future of ground combat will likely involve some form of robotics, and the Russia military is on its way to developing a new type of combat uniform that will provide its human wearers with some very unique and powerful features. For instance, the Ratnik-3 (Warrior-3), a third-generation infantry combat suit, will incorporate an exoskeleton that is built right into an outfit that will incorporate 60 different accessories, including several various late-model weapons, sensors and protective equipment designed to operate under nearly any conditions. Also, designers — who are affiliated with Russian state corporation Rostec — said the suit will incorporate a waterproof, blast-proof watch. “The level of technology and the reliability of the elements of [a] servicemen’s outfit is growing. Correspondingly, the level of a soldier’s capabilities on the battlefield is increasing. This new development by Central Scientific Research Institute for Precision Machine Engineering is another step in this direction,” Sergey Abramov, industrial director for Rostec’s Armament Cluster. The first generation of Ratnik system prototypes was reportedly distributed to select units in 2013 and was spotted by The New York Times being worn by unmarked Russian units in Crimea shortly after Moscow annexed the former Ukrainian territory in 2014. In January 2015, the Russian Defense Ministry announced its first shipment of 50,000 kits for later that year. By comparison, the U.S. Army is developing “Iron Man,” a suit of integrated body armor that makes use of a liquid that solidifies in milliseconds, and a tiny, powerful engine for recharging the suit’s systems.
Jon E. Dougherty is a political, foreign policy and national security analyst and reporter with nearly 30 years of experience in both fields. A U.S. Army veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, he holds BA in Political Science from Ashford University and an MA in National Security Studies/Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.