The Main Premieres of “Army 2020”: What Equipment Was Shown at the Defence Exhibition for the First Time

TASS – about the most interesting examples of weapons and equipment, as well as some new developments of Russian defence specialists, that attracted the attention of military experts and journalists.

More than 1,500 organisations and defence enterprises demonstrated about 28,000 exhibits at the international military-technical forum “Army-2020”. The Rostec state corporation presented more than 1,100 types of weapons, military, civil and special equipment, 70 of which had not been previously demonstrated. Among the most interesting examples are the latest anti-drone systems, innovative systems for armoured vehicles, as well as control and communication systems. Many developments of the defence industry were devoted to medicine and the fight against viruses.

Also, visitors were presented a unique exhibition “Tankprom”, dedicated to the 100th anniversary of national tank building. There it was possible to see not only historical exhibits, but also modern samples of UralVagonZavod’s development, such as the T-14 tank and the T-15 “Armata” BMP, and the new T-72B3M and T-80BVM tanks that are coming into service with our army.

“Tigr”, “Strela”, and ” Manul” buggies

The forum presented a large number of wheeled armoured vehicles. From the 16 vehicles of the military-industrial complex (MIC), six are being demonstrated for the first time. The K-17 “Bumerang” wheeled BMP was also shown.

The highly manoeuvrable SUV/buggy “Tigr” has an open body and the ability to install multiple machine guns. The developers believe that the vehicle is well suited for the special forces units and special operations forces of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, because its purpose is to raid the enemy’s rear.

It is based on the chassis of special armoured vehicle VPK-233136 with the installation of a turbo diesel engine that develops a maximum power of 240 HP, combined with an automatic transmission. The buggy has brackets for mounting a 12.7 mm KORD machine gun and three 7.62 mm Pecheneg PKP (or PKM) machine guns, as well as two man-portable air defence systems (MANPADS).

Armoured vehicle of the light class of the “Strela” family, which can be transported on the external suspension of the “Mi-8” helicopter. The first experimental model of the vehicle was made. Nearby in the general formation is the 5901 amphibious tracked snow and swamp vehicle, capable of carrying loads weighing up to 5 tons. The total mass of the vehicle is 16 tons.

An export modification of the special armoured vehicle VPK-233136 based on the components and assemblies of the “Atlet” vehicle was also exhibited. Next to it is the BTR-82AT armoured personnel carrier with a set of protective and lattice screens and a remotely controlled BTR-BM combat module. According to the composition of the weapons system, security, and the ability to solve tactical and fire tasks, it has, in fact, turned into a wheeled BMP. The developers note that thanks to the implemented measures, the coefficient of its combat effectiveness in comparison with the BTR-82A increased by 1.2 times.

Holding company “Vysokotochnyye Kompleksy” showed the new infantry fighting vehicle “Manul”, focused primarily on export customers. As Sergey Abdulov, the chief designer of the Special Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering at the Rostec “Vysokotochnyye Kompleksy” holding company, told TASS, “there is a tendency for [the landing troops] to exit in the aft section, i.e., through the rear ramp, the vehicle is made with this in mind, the engine compartment is located in the front”.

The basic version of “Manul” is equipped with such a “Bumerang” module with a 30-mm gun and four guided missiles. The degree of standardisation with the BMP-3 is about 50%.

The public’s interest in futuristic appearance was also stimulated by the forum’s civil novelty – the “Drozd” car. This is a four-wheel-drive gliding amphibian — for movement in water, the car removes its wheels. Speed on land – 100 km/h, on water – 70. Seaworthiness — 3 Beaufort scale points. Total weight – 3500 kg.

“Abakan”, “Tornado-S”, and “Germes”

The “Almaz-Antey” concern of the East Kazakhstan region demonstrated for the first time the 51P6E2 non-strategic “Abakan” missile launcher and the “Antey-4000” anti-aircraft missile system (an export version of the S-300V4).

As a result of modernisation, “Antey-4000” significantly increased its combat capabilities. The range of aerodynamic targets hit by 9M83ME anti-aircraft guided missiles increased from 130 to 150 km, and 9M82MDE – from 350 to 380 km. The height of hitting aerodynamic targets with 9M82MDE missiles increased from 30 to 33 km.

The “Abakan” non-strategic anti-ballistic missile system is designed to combat ballistic targets. The minimum radar cross-section of destroyed targets is 0.02 m. The maximum range is 30 km, and the altitude is 25 km. Two missiles can be aimed at the same target at the same time. The interval between launches is up to 2 seconds.

Among the novelties of weapons are the “Tornado-S” guided missiles of the multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). Unlike its predecessors, now each projectile can hit a separate target. Flight range – up to 120 km.

“The ‘Tornado-S’ missile was the first in which only the tail block of the missile part rotates around its longitudinal axis, and the missile and warhead parts of the ammunition remain in a static position. This ensures an unbroken connection with the satellite, which, in turn, increases the accuracy of hitting the target. The accuracy of the projectiles is 15-20 times higher than that of ‘Smerch’ MLRS projectiles,” Aleksandr Smirnov, General Director of the A. N. Ganichev “Splav” NGO, told the forum. “Before ‘Tornado-C’, guided projectiles had not previously been used in rocket artillery.”

The Shipunov Instrument Design Bureau for the first time showed the “Germes” high-precision guided weapon system with an over-the-horizon firing range of up to 100 km. “It is a new generation complex that occupies a niche between guided artillery shells and operational-tactical systems,” the press service of “Vysokotochnykh Kompleksov” (part of Rostec) told TASS. The development became known in 2015.

Based on the results of a full cycle of tests of “Germes” at the site with the defeat of various types of targets, it was concluded that a single missile of the complex is enough to guarantee the destruction of any existing western tank.

Its missile has an autonomous guidance system on the principle of “shoot and forget”. Part of “Germes” includes a number of drone reconnaissance and guidance that enable the detection of the target and its illumination.

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Drones and anti-UAVS

In comparison with previous forums at “Army-2020”, the interest of many enterprises in developments in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) has significantly increased. This year, the number of UAV models presented has grown significantly. Thus, the Kronshtadt group showed a whole line of new UAVS at once in the open area — the “Gelios” radar patrol unit, the “Sirius” reconnaissance and strike vehicle, and the “Grom” high-speed strike vehicle. And all of them were with samples of the target load, part of the ammunition of their own design.

Another developer and manufacturer of drones — the company “Radar MMS” – for the first time showed a helicopter-type UAV designed for the search and rescue operations of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations.

“It is the only helicopter-type UAV in Russia that has successfully passed tests with various loads in a vertical wind tunnel at the N. E. Zhukovsky Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute,” the company’s press service told TASS. The complex consists of the device itself and a ground mobile control station based on a Ford Transit minibus. Its weight is 45 kg, and it can fly at an altitude of up to 1500m for two hours.

Also, a lot of novelties in the field of countering UAVs were presented by the “Avtomatika” concern, which is part of the Rostec state corporation. Among them are the “Bastion-Avtomatika” portable anti-drone system, the updated “Kupol Missile Defence” portable UAV suppression system, and the “Rubezh-Avtomatika mobile automated anti-aircraft system.

The latter can be placed on open ground areas, on the roofs of buildings or structures, and has a maximum range of detection and counteraction. “Bastion” is a more compact system, but of medium range. The complexes operate both in manual and automatic modes. At the exhibition it was possible to observe how UAV detection and identification happens, as well as how the means of electronic suppression are activated.

“Kupol-PRO” affects drones in a certain perimeter, i.e., it covers the territory with a kind of dome. It has a shorter range (up to 2.5 km above the protected area), but it is as mobile as possible.

The mobile version of the UAV counteraction complex “Ataka-DBS” was shown by “Roselektronika”. It blocks the communication channels and satellite navigation of drones. Under the action of the complex, the drone loses communication with the control panel and, depending on the programmed algorithm, either makes an emergency landing or returns to the launch point. The system response time is 0.1 seconds.

“Sprut”, “Vityaz”, and “Serval”

For the first time in the recent history of Russia, “Army-2020” presents a promising light tug for military divers, “Sprut”, created at the order of the Russian navy.

It was developed at the “Burevestnik” plant on an initiative basis this year. It is available in a single copy and, most importantly, has already passed factory tests and has surpassed all existing analogues in the world in its confirmed tactical and technical characteristics. “Sprut” is made 100% from domestic components, power units, and batteries.

On the first day of the exhibition, the new product was already appreciated by the fleet command, which showed a great interest in it. The device is designed to take combat swimmers, special cargo, and equipment to the landing site or to the border of the area of possible detection by hydro-acoustic means.

Another underwater novelty is “Vityaz”. It became the world’s first fully autonomous uninhabited underwater vehicle, which reached the deepest point of the world’s ocean — the Mariana Trench – in May this year. The “Rubin” Central Design Bureau (as part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation, USC) was created in conjunction with the Advanced Research Foundation.

“We continue to work on ‘Vityaz’. We are extending this project for another two years. We will turn it into an underwater spacecraft, even more saturated with intelligent devices,” Viktor Litvinenko, deputy head of the department of physical and technical research at the Advanced Research Foundation, said at the forum. It became known that the navy plans to get “Vityaz” devices for military purposes.

In the USC pavilion, it was possible to see a model of the small coastal submarine “Serval” (P-750 B). It was developed by the “Malakhit” Saint Petersburg Naval Bureau of Machine Building.

Judging by the concept layout, the project implements new technical solutions and principles. In particular, the vessel will receive an air-independent engine, which will significantly increase the duration of being under water. A modular weapons architecture is also offered. 533-mm torpedo tubes, self-defence equipment, and unmanned equipment for various purposes can be placed in the bow of the vessel under the light hull.

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The description of the layout indicates that “Serval” is intended for striking coastal stationary enemy objects, destroying surface and underwater ships, covert transportation, landing and receiving reconnaissance and sabotage groups, and conducting radio intelligence. Its crew is up to 20 people. Its speed is 18 knots. And its cruising range is up to 4,300 miles. The diving depth is 300m.

“Poloz”, a silenced pistol, and a smart gun

The “Kalashnikov” concern presented a number of novelties in the field of small arms. Among them are the RPL-20 light machine gun (a 5.45mm belt machine gun), the AK-19 machine gun (the latest version of the AK-12 machine gun with a 5.56mm NATO cartridge), and the MR-155 “Ultima” smart rifle synchronised with gadgets.

“Ultima is more our step into the field and into the entertainment sector. I think this is the first product in this direction and we will develop it. Who knows, maybe this line will show what modern hunting in Russian is,” said Dmitry Tarasov, CEO of “Kalashnikov”.

Every year, foreign delegations are highly interested in the exposition of the Central Research Institute of Precision Engineering (TSNIITOCHMASH, part of Rostec). This year, 22 of the 56 exhibits were being shown for the first time. Among them are the new pistols – a sports “Aspid” and a compact “Poloz” 9×21 mm, which was developed on an initiative within the framework of the “Udav” development work for the army.

According to Vadim Malinnikov, head of the small arms development department at the Institute, the design makes it easy to adapt pistols to the needs of the user by changing handles of various types and using magazines of various capacities (from 15 to 23 rounds).

For the first time, a special forces PSS-2 pistol with a minimum noise level was shown. “The PSS-2 differs from the PSS-1 pistol, adopted in 1984, with a bolt frame and a firing mechanism that uses elements of the upgraded Serdyukov SR.1M self-loading pistol,” a representative of the company told TASS. It is designed for the new SP-16 cartridge, which was adopted in 2011 and has an increased penetration capacity.

PSS-2 is equipped with a sub-barrel guide for target designators and lights, a side magazine release button, and an ergonomic handle. The sound of the shot is almost silent.

The future belongs to them

The bright premiere of the forum is an exoskeleton with active knee support. This is the development of a partner of TSNIITOCHMASH – the Research Institute of Mechanics at Lomonosov Moscow State University.

The exoskeleton serves to facilitate movement over uneven terrain and stairs. According to the developers, it reduces the load on the knee joint by 25% when walking and lifting. Its feet contain control sensors that are adapted to the weight of the person.

Vladimir Budanov, head of the General mechanics laboratory of the Lomonosov Moscow state University research Institute of mechanics, said:

And until we had good motors, there was no question of creating such an exoskeleton at all. Now there is a technique that, in principle, allows to solve problems in a completely new way.

“When the leg is loaded, the knee joint is activated. If we move the leg, the motor does not work and does not interfere with movement. The idea of this solution is simply to help the person do what they want. For example, to step over something. And in principle, if we go on a flat area, it is not very necessary, because a passive exoskeleton on a flat area copes with the task of unloading a person,” said Budanov.

Another new feature that is the future is the multifunctional complex “Rat”. This is the first Russian mobile system for combatting drones with a system of directed laser destruction. It was created by specialists of the “Roselektronika” holding company (part of Rostec) on the basis of a special armoured vehicle.

It consists of a radar station, a system of automatic recognition and suppression of telecommunications channels, and a system of directed ultra-high-frequency suppression and directed laser destruction.

Data from the detection and monitoring tools is sent to the central control panel, the system processes the target parameters and offers the operator several options for further actions.

“Rat” is capable of detecting drones at a distance of up to 3.5 km, and performing directional suppression of UAV control channels within a radius of up to 2.5 km. In the event of the unauthorised intrusion of several objects, it blocks their communication channels and satellite navigation. The operator can also physically destroy the drone using a laser.

Another unusual example is an automated intelligent robot control system based on neural networks. The “Roselektronika” holding company assures that its use will increase the effectiveness of combat systems by more than threefold by minimising human involvement.

“The system can manage mixed units consisting of traditional weapons and robotic systems. Thus, the question of its use is already actual, since several military-purpose robotic complexes are already in service, in particular, reconnaissance vehicles — both ground-based and UAVS, as well as weapons equipped with modern automated fire guidance control systems,” said Oleg Ratnikov, General Director of “Radiozavod”, to TASS.

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After the target is detected by means of reconnaissance – satellite, drone, or radar – data about the object is sent to the mobile control center. The system processes the received information, forms and transmits a command to the means of destruction — rocket, jet, or artillery complexes. In addition to the military, it can be used in the interests of the Ministry of Emergency Situations to manage robotic fire-fighting complexes and manage unmanned transport and robotic agricultural machinery.

Special forces need “Shtorm”

The “Vertolety Rossii” holding company (part of Rostec) presented one of the most protected and powerful military transport helicopters in the world – the Mi-171SH “Shtorm”. Mikhail Karpushkin, deputy managing director for marketing, sales, and after-sales service of the “Ulan-Ude” aviation factory (U-UAZ), told TASS that serial production of the modernised machine will begin in 2022. One of its main differences is its high level of versatility.

Mikhail Karpushkin said:

In modern conditions, military customers have changed their demands — they now need a universal helicopter that can perform a wide range of tasks. We need a helicopter that can conduct classic landing operations, and in a few minutes — destroy tanks.

Compared with the previously developed military transport helicopters of the Mi-8/17 family, the updated Mi-171SH received enhanced protection. The armour protects not only the crew and the most important components of the helicopter, but also the landing party in the cargo cabin. Two sliding doors on the sides and a ramp in the stern allow for ultra-fast disembarkation, and also allow to transport a buggy of the “Chaborz” type, which was also demonstrated on the site next to the helicopter.

“The buggy goes out, completes the task, gets back on board, and everyone leaves. Now everything is just in the course of test checks. And this will be a really effective tool,” said Karpushkin.

The on-board armament has also been significantly strengthened. “The special feature of the helicopter is the use of a complex of guided weapons, in particular the ‘Ataka’ missiles, which are capable of destroying tanks,” added Karpushkin, noting that the helicopter for the first time installed “Kord” heavy machine guns both on fixed girders and in the openings of sliding doors. “Shtorm” also received new VK-2500-03 engines, able to work effectively in high mountains and in hot climates.

A prototype of the upgraded Mi-35P combat helicopter, which has already gone into production, was statically presented. The chopper received an advanced observation and sighting system, a modern aerobatic complex, and an upgraded sighting and computing system to automatically support the development goals of the “Shvabe” and “KRET” holding companies. The OPS-24N-1L observation and targeting system used on the Mi-35P could be seen in the Rostec democenter.

In addition, it was possible to still see a blade with a saber-shaped tip for helicopters of the future. It will improve the flight characteristics, and first and foremost, the maximum speed of combat vehicles. Currently, these blades are undergoing factory flight tests on the Mi-28N helicopter.

At the entrance to the “Patriot” park, all guests were greeted by the now-famous “Black Shark” Ka-50 attack helicopter, which was shown at the forum for the first time.

It was on precisely its basis in 1997 that a two-seat version was created for around-the-clock use – the Ka-52 alligator, which is now in service with our army.

Defence against viruses

In addition to weapons, at “Army 2020” Rostec showed a range of products to counter COVID-19, including thermal imagers, various medical equipment, and even development for detecting coronavirus in the air.

The “Shvabe” holding company demonstrated this solution for the first time at the forum. The automatic complex for the detection of pathogenic biological agents “Detektor-BIO” was created in partnership with the Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology. N.F. Gamalea at ​​the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and the Krasnogorsk Plant named after S.A. Zvereva.

The device is designed to detect indoor bacteria, toxins, and various viruses, including COVID-19. It simultaneously displays up to 86 markers of infectious disease pathogens. Analysis of air samples takes on average from 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the concentration of pathogens and other factors, and the autonomy of work without the involvement of an operator is at least 7 days.

“Detektor-BIO is a unique domestic development, it has no analogues in the domestic market. It is designed to ensure security in crowded places, such as airports, train stations and metro stations, infrastructure facilities, and during mass events. The product has already passed through state testing,” Vadim Kalyugin, the first deputy General Director of “Shvabe” and director for production and industrial policy, told TASS.

In total, Rostec state corporation presented 15 developments at the forum that help prevent the spread of coronavirus. Some samples of these products were used to ensure the safety of the guests and participants of the military-technical forum.


Roman Azanov

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