St. Petersburg Scientists Develop Special Equipment for '21st Century Fighters'

100 soldiers from a battalion of sappers in Chechnya are to be sent into a minefield in a new universal one-man engineering kit, which has been developed by scientists from St. Petersburg as part of the '21st Century Fighter' federal targeted programme.

The 'Current Defence and Security Problems' conference in St. Petersburg featured demonstrations of the special new military kits and equipment, which have been recommended for purchase by the Russian armed forces. A new tinted camouflage battle uniform was also displayed.

According to Alexander Sautkin, the deputy director of the special materials research institute and one of the designers of the new equipment, the uniform has been successfully tested in Chechnya over the last two years. 'The whole kit is very light,' he said. 'The dirt-resistant camouflage uniform weighs only 300 grams. It offers excellent protection against the wind, is easy to wash, and dries in only twenty minutes.' The uniform is complemented by a special bag, which contains all the necessary equipment for a sapper.

Sautkin also said that the kit costs only 15-17 thousand roubles (USD 470-540), which is about 7 times less than an equivalent US kit. 'So far only 100 kits have been ordered, but we would be able to supply 1000 a year if they were ordered,' added Sautkin.