At the end of 2017, during the combat use of the Russian version of the second-generation equipment "Ratnik", the enemy has never been able to penetrate her defense. For the first time this ammunition could be seen on "polite people" in the Crimea, then it was thoroughly tested in Syria. Why do not the troops want to take advantage of the new equipment? "Our Version" understood what the "Ratnik" is.
According to the developers, "Ratnik" has several unique qualities at once, which is really so. First, the area of protection of bulletproof vests is one of the largest in the world, and the degree of protection is such that the plates are said to be capable of withstanding 10 hits from Dragunov's sniper rifle. Secondly, in Ratnik, a technological coverall is used, which hides almost the entire body from fragmentation. Thirdly, tests of a special cloth that is able to protect soldiers from detection in infrared light are already being conducted today. Special fibers will block the heat emitted by the body, making the fighters more difficult to detect with a thermal imager. In addition, the equipment is planned to be supplemented with protective glasses with the projection of information on their glass, which will allow them to hit targets "from behind the corner".
Also, the producers promise that in the future "Ratnik" will be equipped with advanced computer equipment - in particular, medical and biological sensors and microwave detectors. One of the most anticipated items of equipment is mine-resistant footwear, which saves from anti-personnel mines. In the next, in the third generation of "Ratnik", manufacturers intend to solve its main problem - it is planned to significantly reduce weight while preserving protective properties by using new materials. According to experts, the equipment will be lighter than the 25-30 percent - now it weighs 24 kilograms, the task is to reduce its weight to 20 kilograms.
All this is still in perspective, but even in its current state, "Ratnik" has a lot of advantages. It would seem that here he would be given a green light. However, the newest complex is gathering dust in warehouses.
"Sagittarius" needs advanced users
As it turns out, with all the undoubted advantages, "Ratnik" has many disadvantages. The most valuable system of "Ratnik" is the complex of reconnaissance, control and communication (KRUS) "Sagittarius" - a personal computer with peripherals distributed over the unloading waistcoat of a fighter. The developers claim that it guarantees the solution of all information tasks that a serviceman can only face, why the war for soldiers becomes somewhat similar to a computer game. So, information about each particular soldier is transferred to the screen of the commander's personal computer, and their location is displayed on the map of the area and updated in real time.
However, in fact KRUS "Sagittarius" turned out to be a useful system, but at the same time very difficult to use, which is why not every soldier is able to master it. The military says: in order to learn how to fully use it, you need to literally constantly have an instruction before your eyes. In this regard, users are asking developers to pay attention to the interface and make it intuitive. After all, if today's top manufacturers of electronic devices are trying to simplify the management of such systems as much as possible, in the case of Ratnik it is not yet possible to talk about this. In addition, software often crashes. The developers are trying to correct the situation, but the changes are practically not noticeable. Therefore, the "Sagittarius" can only be used by experienced soldiers and officers. To hope that ordinary soldiers, serving in the army for only a year, will hardly be able to master the system, is unlikely.
The military are unhappy
But, maybe, well, her, this computer system? After all, even without it, a protective suit is able to ensure the fulfillment of the main task - to protect the soldier on the battlefield and help him to win ... Alas, there are also problems here. There is still a problem with the sights, including night vision. The regular night sight of "Ratnik" is much inferior to its main foreign competitors. In addition, he lacks monoculars, collimator sights, thermal imagers - in general, all those devices that have long become the standard set for the best examples of foreign combat equipment. As a result, servicemen performing real combat missions still have to buy some devices at their own expense.
There are other annoying little things. For example, a helmet-shaped flashlight does not have an infrared mode, which makes it difficult to use a night sight in the melee conditions. Also, there are claims to the armored helmet, which is poorly fixed on the head, and to backpacks that do not hold a uniform. Cuffs are caused by knee pads, elbow pads and even a rest mat, which are not made of the finest materials.
Because, paradoxically it sounds, the troops do not want to receive and enjoy the benefits of the equipment "Ratnik". In addition, there is one more reason. The fact is that this equipment itself is very expensive and the responsibility for its safety lies entirely with the unit commanders. In case of loss or damage, it is possible to subtract something from a contractor who lost property, perhaps only in theory, with conscripts in general it is impossible. Therefore, the equipment has not become an element of everyday equipment. "Ratnikom" regularly uses only a limited group of fighters who represent the country in international exercises or participate in combat operations.
But even when the equipment is issued, the fighters do not receive all the equipment. A typical example: the "Ratnik" includes a universal multi-purpose knife produced by the Kazan firm "Milita" and wrist mechanical watches 6Э4-1 and 6Э4-2 of the company "Vostok-Design". However, almost all fighters use their own knives, and the standard hours are stored in the commanders' safe to avoid their loss.
Viktor MURAKHOVSKY, member of the Expert Council of the Board of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation:
- The outfit of "Ratnik" by the majority is perceived as a good uniform including a armored body and bulletproof vest, but in fact it is a modular system that is constantly being improved. With the advent of new developments, some elements go back to the past, it can be visually seen through means of communication, which for a very short time have become digital. "Ratnik" is a common name. This is a modular design, which, depending on the combat task, is supplemented by means of individual armor protection, communication, control, life support and appropriate weapons. These are several hundred names of weapons and supplies, life support equipment.
Some components of the "Ratnik", for example, communications equipment, reconnaissance and control systems, are at a level that is already superior to Western analogues. For example, by its protective properties, the armor surpasses the best that exists in the Western armies, including the United States and Israel. There are very original solutions that have not been thought of in foreign armies, for example, a Russian bulletproof vest at the same time is a swimming vest, helping to stay well on the water.
The military outfit of the military man "Ratnik" is one of the most ambitious projects for the modernization of the Russian army, which has been working since 2013. However, it could not be at all, since initially Anatoly Serdyukov intended to buy from France equipment "soldier of the future" Felin. It is not known what would have turned out such a decision - most likely this equipment would also be under sanctions and its deliveries would be suspended.
Initially, "Ratnik" was considered as a convenient uniform from modern fabrics with light armor protection for all-season use. Subsequently, modern means of protection were introduced, including a lightweight multi-layer armor made of composite materials, and a light bulletproof vest from a layer of ceramic tiles and a composite substrate. Now the equipment includes a universal shelter, a multifunctional knife, a light-signal lantern, a clock, a winter and summer double-sided camouflage kits, an autonomous heat source, a raid backpack, an individual water filter, a small infantry shovel, respiratory protection, radiation, chemical control, special treatment and first aid. For today, 200 thousand sets have been delivered to the troops. Completely disguise the Russian soldiers in the equipment of the new generation "Ratnik-2" is planned by 2020.