The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to substitute soldiers with robotic systems for munitions disposal and mine clearance operations in the battlefield.
An invitation to tender (ITT) has been recently issued by the MoD requesting industry teams for production of new types of weapons and military hardware, including robots, according to Russia & India Report.
An undisclosed company source Andrei Nosov said it has submitted a proposal for the tender and already started development of a robot that will imitate the operator’s hand movements, unlike legacy joystick-operated systems.
"We first created it for Roscosmos," Nosov said. "Now we hope the military will be interested as well."
The MoD is currently considering the procurement of civilian robotic equipment, such as snow and swamp-traversing vehicles, Yel-10 and Yel-4 firefighting complexes, and LUF-60 tracked firefighting support units.
Options for the deployment of robotic systems to conduct critical mine clearance missions in Chechnya is also under consideration by the ministry, the publication reported citing Russian chief of general staff Valery Gerasimov.
Robotisation of critical military missions is not only expected to protect soldiers, but also results in RUR75bn ($2.4bn) as cost savings to the ministry between 2012 and 2014.
The Russian Army has previously expressed an interest in using robots for combat missions, although the systems are mostly used by the navy for mine warfare operations.
A track-mounted robot, MRK-27 BT, similar to the US special weapons observation remote direct-action system (SWORDS) was developed by the robotics lab of Moscow State Technical University (MSTU) in 2009, for use in actual combat operations.