A major hi-tech Russian military lab has unveiled what appears to be a prototype of a next-generation combat suit. It might resemble something out of Star Wars, but this is the prototype for a combat suit that Russia hopes will give its soldiers the edge on the battlefields of the future. The prototype features a helmet covering the soldier’s face and cutting-edge body armor.
The high-tech item also includes an exoskeleton, or outer layer, designed to boost strength and stamina and a layer of body armor to shield the wearer from bullets. The all-black kit also has a Stormtrooper-style helmet with a tinted glass visor and what appears to be a radio cable poking out of the side.
A model standing more than six feet tall wore the suit while cradling a fearsome-looking firearm in a pair of black padded gloves. His arms were covered in fabric patterned with camouflage print and protected by armored plates marked with the Russian flag. On his legs were a pair of bulky shoes resembling ski boots, which were supported by a metal frame wrapped around the waist.
The prototype was unveiled on Thursday at the opening of Russia’s largest high-tech prototyping center at the National University of Science and Technology (MISIS) in Moscow. It was developed at the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine Building, a major Russian weapons designer, and primary military supplier.
“We’re working on a concept for the combat suit of the future. On display is our vision of the suit we would like to develop within the next couple of years,” said Oleg Chikarev, deputy chief of weapons systems at the institute.
The Russian military is actively preparing to meet the challenges of future warfare as major world powers are investing in research and development of next-generation combat systems, including exoskeletons and robotized platforms.
However, as human soldiers will still play a role on the battlefield until robotized warfare becomes reality, work on Russia’s infantry combat system Ratnik 2 is underway, Lieutenant General Andrey Grigoriev said. He is head of the Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) – viewed as Russia’s analogue of DARPA, adding that his agency is already looking for a next-generation upgrade.
The Legionnaire, a new project, will feature sophisticated firearms, communications systems, as well as enhanced gear ensuring all-round protection from bullets and shrapnel, allowing infantrymen “to feel comfortable in any environment.”