This Russian robot tank is an unmanned grenade launcher

Russia has been talking up its new armed, tank-like robot, claiming that the machine has “outperformed” manned vehicles during recent exercises.

This comes from Russian news site Military Review, which interviewed Colonel Oleg Pomazuev, head of the Department of Innovation Research at the Russian military’s Main Directorate of Research Activities (GUNID). The unit is called the Nerehta, is capable of carrying a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun, or an AG-30M grenade launcher, and can allegedly be used for transport, reconnaissance and combat.

Pomazuev didn’t go into specifics about which vehicles the experimental combat robot outperformed, but did say the Russian army is planning to field the unmanned ground unit in its armed forces.  

Samuel Bendett, associate research analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses’ International Affairs Group, told military news site Defense One that the plans to encompass robotic forces are in line with Russia’s recent strategy.

“They have also been stating for a while that their modernisation and state armaments program will include high-tech and unmanned systems,” Bendett told the site, noting that Russian forces had previously tested small unmanned ground vehicles – similar to the Nerehta – during its September exercises in Belarus.

While the use of unmanned aerial vehicles has become widespread with the advent of drone warfare, unmanned ground units are still very much at a nascent stage of development. And Russia isn’t alone in showing a keen interest in the technology, as seen in US projects such as the Titan UGV.

Earlier this year Russia showed off a very different, but arguably more terrifying, new ground unit – the Kalashnikov-made Shchit. Intended for anti-riot operations, the vehicle comes with an enormous moveable shield, complete with turrets for firing projectiles into a crowd.

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