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Science » Technologies and discoveries

Russian scientists develop weapons of the future: Integrated soldiers, laser guns and smart tanks

08.07.2005
 

The renowned Kalashnikov gun will most likely have to retire and give way to an automatic gun of the new generation – AN-94

The traditional attitude to the Russian army is rather skeptic: it is most entirely equipped with the Soviet-era defense technology. The legendary reliability of Soviet weapons is known worldwide, although they have their limits too. Kalashnikov guns, Topol missiles, S-300 missile systems, Su-27 pursuit planes, Mi-8 military helicopters, T-72 tanks are reputed to have become perfect examples of the Russian defense power. However, they can be referred to as outdated weapons too. Russian specialists are currently working on new generation of arms that will be added to the arsenal of the Russian Armed Forces in the future.

Russian designers work on the program titled “The Integrated technology for Soldiers of the 21st Century.” The program includes the work on the individual equipment for warriors of the future. The major goal of the project is to systematize all the weapons, which a soldier uses in military operations. A defense set of the 21st century actually represents the ultra-modern and multi-functional “walking” computer.

A Kalashnikov gun was considered the best automatic gun in the world only a short time ago. A monument to the globally-recognized Kalashnikov gun was unveiled in one of African countries. However, legends never last forever.

The renowned Kalashnikov gun will most likely have to retire and give way to an automatic gun of the new generation – AN-94, or Abakan. Outwardly, the new weapon does not have any peculiar differences from its predecessor. The Abakan gun has very slight recoil: the so-called carriage system absorbs the shock when bullets fire out.

Unlike the Kalashnikov gun, the Abakan is outfitted with three modes of shooting: single, fixed volleys and continuous fire. The capacity of the Abakan's magazine is 45 cartridges. Designers of the new Russian gun say that AN-94 will have broad perspectives for its perfection. Specialists already work on the modified model of the gun – Abakan-Super. Engineers want to create a symbiosis of unique fire-arms and a multi-functional computer system. The amended version of the gun includes a laser sight with day and night-time modes. In addition, the Abakan-Super gun will be equipped with a computer block, which analyses all parameters necessary to strike targets day and night.

A head-piece of the soldier of the future is made of light and ultra-solid materials. The helmet represents an electronic unit, which allows a soldier to stay in touch with his commanders, determine his whereabouts, the spending of ammunition supplies, etc. 

World's smartest tank will most likely be developed in the city of Nizhni Tagil. For the time being, the new machine exists as a sketch; it is tentatively called “Object N.” It is expected that the project will end with the creation of the smartest tank in the world: the machine will be outfitted with a highly efficient electronic intellect. The system will be receiving information about a target through optical, thermal imaging and infra-red channels, which include a laser range-finder and a radar station.

The new tank will be outfitted with a 1,300 horse power engine – it will thus become the most powerful tank engine in the world. The weight of the new super machine will reach 45 tons: it will be the lightest tank among armored vehicles of the class. The shells of the new machine will be capable of breaking the armor of any other tanks. Furthermore, a special electronic detector of Object-N's shells will not let a moving target escape the destruction.

Russian scientists currently conduct secret research works to develop a new generation of cartridges too. The traditional powder will most likely be replaced with light-gas blend. New cartridges will possess a more powerful breaking capacity: a new bullet fired from the distance of one kilometer will be able to break through a 2-centimeter thick layer of armor. The bullet develops an incredibly high initial velocity owing to the reduced weight and the special composition of the powder blend. To crown it all, Russian defense scientists try to design a jet-propelled bullet. As soon as such a bullet touches the surface of a target, a tiny charge blows up in the core of the bullet, and it vehemently plunges into the armor.

Foreign specialists of defense technologies acknowledged 20 years ago that the Russian multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) Smerch, or Tornado, won the status of the world's best artillery machine. Russian designers continue the work to modify the system, although it may seem that it can already be added on the list of perfect arms. The firing range of the machine was characterized with 70 kilometers a short while ago. Nowadays the MLRS is capable of firing missiles at the distance of 90 kilometers. Designers plan to improve the firing capacity even further – up to 130 kilometers. It brings up the idea that the number of launchers will be increased from 12 to 16 or even 20.

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