Augmenting soldiers with robotic technology is not a new concept, but Russia is reportedly attempting to go further than any other. Following China's recent reveal of mechanical suits assisting soldiers, the Russian military is seemingly looking into having its soldiers equipped with “Iron Man” style power armour.
The new power suits are allegedly planned to be deployed in Ukraine. These Iron Man suits come after a large propaganda campaign from the country claimed the Ukranian military was creating “Captain America” style supersoldiers.
Russia’s sci-fi-esque military hardware is said to able to improve the capabilities of its soldiers. However, with Russian forces already suffering from equipment shortages, there's a sense that this is simply another matter of Russian propaganda.
Nevertheless, British newspaper The Sun claims that Russia is planning to introduce at least some robotically enhanced soldiers to the field. The outlet reports that the country's military has approached a number of companies to test equipment for its military.
Maxim Skokov, CEO of warfare exoskeleton company Ekzo Solutions, claimed “artillerymen are interested in exoskeletons to ease the weight of shells during loading.” The CEO revealed that the company will test “the effectiveness of our equipment in practice” during this month and December.
The exoskeletons are said to give the user more strength and stamina. Using robotics, the suits will let soldiers run further, lift heavier objects and maintain accuracy with larger weapons. However, the designs are currently years away from their finished idea.
Skokov revealed that Ekzo currently produces 50 robotic exoskeletons every month. The CEO explained that it will “quickly increase production” if the military deems it necessary. Of course, that all depends on whether or not the battle suits are successful.
Ekzo’s hardware is not exactly new. The “Iron Man” battle armor has been used in operations in Syria. While the defence company claims its tests have been successful, only time will tell if the Russian military deems it so.
One of the biggest issues with Ekzo's suits is its reliance on batteries to power its robotic elements. If soldiers are unable to power up the hardware, they may need to abandon the suits in the field. While non-battery powered suits are also designed by Russian companies, it seems that Ekzo’s version is going to be used.