P.A. Dulnev, Doctor of Military Sciences, Professor
S.A. Sychev, candidate of military sciences, docent
Improving the weapons system of assault units equipped with military robotic systems
The paper considers the directions of improving the weapons system of assault units when equipping them with
military-purpose robotic systems using a functional approach.
The tendency for the intensification of the struggle for the seizure of populated areas was clearly manifested in the wars and
armed conflicts of our time and outlined the problem of the need to reduce the losses of personnel of the combined-arms
formations involved in their assault. Practice has shown that neither absolute air superiority nor the use of modern high-precision
weapons and command and control technologies provide a significant reduction in the losses of advancing troops during the
assault on populated areas, even with significant superiority in forces and equipment.
Thus, the assault on Mosul by the Iraqi armed forces with the support of the international coalition dragged on for nine
months. The massing of air strikes and artillery fire did not lead to an increase in the rate of offensive of the assault groups and a
decrease in the level of losses, which at certain stages of the operation reached 120-150 people per day, and in total for the
operation amounted to about 30 thousand servicemen. As a result of the liberation of the city in its various districts, from 30 to 70%
of buildings and structures were destroyed, and the number of victims among civilians, according to various sources, may amount
to several tens of thousands of people .
The conduct of hostilities mainly at short distances and simultaneously at several levels, including underground structures and
facilities, in the absence of a continuous front and an increased, relative to normal conditions, density of forces and assets, allows
the defending side to effectively resist in populated areas the enemy equipped with modern weapons and military equipment.
Progress in resolving the problem of reducing personnel losses during assault operations has been outlined in connection
with the intensification of the process of creating fundamentally new high-tech weapons based on military robotics technologies.
However, the use [2, 3] of a number of samples of ground-based robotics in combat conditions has shown that the
effectiveness of the created robotic systems is significantly lower than the effectiveness of crew weapons and military equipment,
and their relatively high cost does not allow hoping for massive equipping of troops with them. Low security, insignificant range and
high complexity of control, as well as the vulnerability of communication channels from the effects of electronic warfare, sharply
limited the range of tasks to which the currently existing robotic systems can be involved.
The need to revise approaches to defining the nomenclature of ground-based robotic systems and to create specialized
assault kits based on them that ensure the performance of tasks in populated areas has been repeatedly raised in a number of
kation [4-7]. Given the particular relevance of this issue in the open press, an active discussion unfolded on the composition and
structure of promising units of robotic complexes, as well as possible ways of their independent and joint use, with combined-arms
formations. In this article, to develop this topic, an attempt is made to determine the directions for improving the weapons system of
assault units when equipping them with robotic systems based on an analysis of the weapons system of assault units created on
the basis of motorized rifle and tank units.
In the guiding documents regulating the procedure for the actions of combined-arms formations in settlements, the main
method of mastering them is considered to be capture on the move. At the same time, the experience of modern armed conflicts
shows that it is extremely rare to apply this method. In most cases, the troops are forced to prepare and conduct the assault on
populated areas, which is associated with significant differences in the offensive from normal conditions:
high security of shooters, grenade launchers, firepower calculations allows the defenders to maintain the density of forces and assets necessary for a successful defense for a long time;
the range of small arms fire in urban conditions rarely exceeds 300 m, but as a rule is about 100 m, which ensures high firing
accuracy of the defenders; placement of fire weapons on the upper floors makes it possible to destroy armored vehicles attacking from the upper
hemisphere, which has weak armor;
a multi-tiered arrangement of fire weapons in defended buildings provides a high density of fire;
prepared paths for maneuver on the surface, as well as the use of underground communications ensure a timely build-up of
efforts in threatened directions;
the insignificant space for maneuvering forces the attackers to move along the streets, which, with the formation of
destruction, blockages and the creation of mine-explosive obstacles, become difficult to pass even for tracked vehicles.
Practice has shown that the most effective assault objectives are achieved when using special elements of the battle order -assault detachments or groups.
It is recommended to include tank and artillery units, air defense units and anti-tank guided complexes, grenade launcher and flamethrower units, as well as units of engineering troops and radiation, chemical and biological
protection [8, 9].
At the same time, the experience of storming settlements in wars and armed conflicts of recent decades has shown that a
number of functional subsystems of the weapon system do not meet the requirements for a number of indicators, as a result of
which, even with significant combat experience, the loss of personnel of the assault detachments ranged from 15 to 35 %. Taking
into account the high losses, the actions of the assault detachments, as a rule, turned into a gradual squeezing out of the enemy
from their positions after the complete destruction of the occupied strong points. The use of non-standard tactics, which consisted
in the construction of embankments for rapprochement with the enemy, the use of elongated demining charges and handcrafted
rockets of increased power to destroy strongholds,
An analysis of the experience of using assault units in modern conditions made it possible to identify the main problematic
issues of their existing weapons system, which it is advisable to consider in terms of functional components .
The capabilities of the functional subsystem of destruction are limited by small angles of declination and elevation of tank
guns, excessive "farsightedness" of fire control systems with poor panoramic visibility, especially in the upper hemisphere. In
addition, the large barrel length significantly complicates maneuver on city streets, and the limited range of ammunition does not
allow the use of ammunition with increased power.
The use of anti-tank missile systems is limited to short firing ranges, which does not always ensure that the missiles reach the
controlled section of the trajectory.
The capabilities of the functional control subsystem are limited by the shielding properties of high-rise buildings and poor
communication quality due to a high level of interference. Despite the positive experience of integrating reconnaissance and
engagement assets in close-range fire combat, the distribution of reconnaissance missions and destruction of an enemy target
between different assets often leads to a decrease in the efficiency of its engagement and, as a result, to a loss of initiative in
The capabilities of the information support functional subsystem are limited by the low efficiency of the available
reconnaissance means. High smoke and dust content significantly reduce the capabilities of optical reconnaissance equipment,
and dense development of settlements does not allow the use of radar stations for reconnaissance of moving targets. As a result,
the identification of enemy firing points is carried out only after they open fire. The practical absence of reconnaissance means
during combat inside buildings and structures, especially in underground communications, leads to high ammunition consumption
or unjustified losses of assault groups.
The capabilities of the functional subsystem of protection are limited by weak armor of the side, rear and upper projections of
tanks, as well as their weak anti-mine protection, which determines a high level of their losses from the effects of anti-tank
weapons, mines and landmines of the enemy.
Poor armoring of infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers generally raises the question of the expediency of
their use during an assault if the enemy has long-range anti-tank weapons. As a result, in order to reach the targets of attack, the
personnel of the assault groups are forced to advance on foot.
The widespread use by the enemy of various mine and explosive obstacles, including anti-side and anti-roof mines, as well as
guided landmines, makes it necessary to equip assault squads with means of detecting mines or impacting them in order to
prematurely trigger (blocking the control lines of landmines).
The capabilities of the functional mobility subsystem are limited by an insufficient number of armored engineering equipment
capable of making passages under enemy fire, which forces the use of bulldozers armored with improvised means for this purpose.
In addition, the specifics of combat operations in populated areas showed that the most significant characteristics of mobility are
not high speed of movement, but the ability of weapons and military equipment to overcome obstacles and destruction, as well as
make maneuvers in a confined space and rapid acceleration to change positions.
The capabilities of the functional subsystem of support are limited by the increased consumption of ammunition for assault
groups, the replenishment of which must be carried out without
an increase in the pace of the offensive or interruptions in the impact on the enemy, which necessitates their replenishment
practically in the combat formations of subunits. This, in turn, requires the introduction of specialized vehicles with appropriate
armor protection. In addition, the need to evacuate the wounded in the zone of enemy fire also necessitates the use of specialized
means of transporting them.
As evidenced by combat experience, assault detachments (groups) incur the greatest losses when advancing to an assault
object (leaving their starting positions, overcoming passages in enemy obstacles, penetrating an attack object), when conducting a
battle for taking possession of attack targets (inside buildings) and repelling counterattacks enemy. At this time, the personnel and
armored vehicles of the assault groups are exposed to intensive effects of the enemy's firepower and his engineering ammunition.
Reducing personnel losses under these conditions is possible by introducing assault squads and groups of specialized robotic
systems into the weapons system, which reduce the number of personnel performing tasks in the zone of the most intense enemy
influence, or increase the efficiency of using other means of the assault squad.
So, the capabilities of the functional subsystem of destruction of the assault detachment (group) can be increased by
including in the fire support groups of heavy (on a tank base) shock robotic systems equipped with a weapon system that allows
hitting enemy fire weapons both on the upper floors of buildings and in basement rooms, as well as use high-explosive
fragmentation, armor-piercing high-explosive and thermobaric ammunition, ensuring the destruction of long-term firing structures,
making passages in the walls of buildings, and, if necessary, fighting against enemy armored objects.
To increase the survivability of heavy robotic systems and build up the capabilities of the functional subsystem of destruction
of the assault detachment (group), medium (based on BMP, MTLB, etc.) robotic complexes can be used, equipped with a complex
of weapons, including an automatic cannon, machine gun, rocket throwers, which will allow create a high density of fire while
suppressing enemy anti-tank weapons and their firing points that impede the advance of capture groups, and, if necessary, create
fires in its strong points.
Ground attack robotic systems, which are entrusted with the task of ensuring the advancement of capture groups to attack
targets, blocking the enemy in neighboring strongpoints and repelling counterattacks, should have increased security using active
and dynamic defense systems, aerosol countermeasures and optoelectronic suppression. For direct support of capture groups
during combat inside buildings and structures, as well as in underground communications, wearable mini RTKs equipped with a
complex of weapons based on small arms and grenade launchers are needed, which will allow destroying enemy personnel with
minimal involvement of personnel. To destroy important enemy targets located in the tactical depth of enemy defense, such as
The capabilities of the functional control subsystem of the assault squad can be significantly expanded through the integration
of technical vision systems of all ground-based robotic
military complexes and unmanned aerial vehicles into a single information space, which will increase the efficiency of decisions
and situational awareness of all elements of the battle order to an individual serviceman or fire weapon. In the presence of
self-organization algorithms in the mode of reconnaissance and fire circuits (complexes), not individual fire weapons coupled with
reconnaissance and control means can operate, but groups of robotic complexes capable of optimizing the process of hitting
targets in the process of performing a task based on the capabilities of weapons complexes.
The use of unmanned aerial vehicles - repeaters will improve the quality of communication in difficult conditions of urban
space and ensure sustainable control of the forces and means of the assault detachment, without increasing the power, and,
accordingly, the weight of communications equipment.
Increasing the capabilities of the functional subsystem of information support is possible due to the inclusion of ground-based
reconnaissance robotic systems and unmanned aerial vehicles in the weapons system of the assault squad. They will be in
demand for conducting reconnaissance of the enemy and the terrain in conditions of high threat to the life of personnel or where
traditional means do not provide the necessary information.
First of all, they are needed to equip capture groups when capturing attack targets. These can be small-sized castable and
self-propelled robotic systems for examining premises, underground utilities and difficult-to-pass places.
In the second, to create a network of mobile observation posts for the formation of an information space, which can be
assigned the task of opening enemy firing points, participating in counter-sniper combat, conducting NBC reconnaissance, video
recording of assault actions, as well as targeting weapons. The capabilities of ground-based reconnaissance robotic systems
should be increased by unmanned aerial reconnaissance vehicles, which may be tasked with identifying enemy mine-explosive
obstacles, its firepower operating in the depth of defense, conducting radio and radio-technical reconnaissance, targeting for
high-precision artillery ammunition, ensuring the use of army and operational-tactical aviation, monitoring the effectiveness of the
use of various weapons.
The capabilities of the functional subsystem of mobility can be increased by equipping the barrage groups of the assault
detachment with engineering robotic complexes designed to make passages in barriers and destruction under enemy fire. The
tasks of making passages in the walls of buildings for the penetration of capture groups into them, as well as the destruction of
specially protected enemy firing points can be performed by robotic platforms with explosive charges of various powers.
To increase mobility, it is advisable to equip all heavy robotic systems with bulldozer dumps and means of suppressing radio
lines of controlled landmines, which will allow them to independently make passages in enemy mine-explosive obstacles and
Wearable robotic systems should be equipped with propellers that allow you to move along flights of stairs and in a confined
space, climb obstacles, independently restore the working position after a fall.
The improvement of the functional subsystem of support can be carried out by introducing universal transport platforms into
the weapons system of the assault squad.
forms intended for the delivery of ammunition and other necessary material resources to units operating in the zone of active
enemy influence, as well as for the evacuation of the wounded.
Unmanned aerial vehicles of the copter type can be used to supply individual groups of the assault detachment that have no
connection with the main forces on the ground.
As the above analysis of the assault squad's weapons system shows, the most characteristic will be the inclusion of robotic
systems in the assault groups (subgroups) of capture, barrage and destruction groups, and fire support groups. The main tasks
assigned to the robotic systems, in this case, will be: conducting reconnaissance of the enemy and the terrain; making passages in
barriers; undermining the walls of buildings and long-term firing points of the enemy; demining of terrain and objects; fire damage
to the enemy in attack targets and adjacent buildings; destruction of enemy armored vehicles; survey of hard-to-reach places,
underground structures; ensuring the actions of capture groups in buildings and structures; adjustment of artillery fire; provision of
high-precision ammunition firing; suppression of enemy radio communication lines.
At the same time, the inclusion of robotic systems in the control, cover and reinforcement groups, as well as the logistical
support units of the assault detachment, has a certain expediency. In this case, the most typical tasks of robotic systems will be:
relaying radio communication signals; participation in search and rescue operations; RCB intelligence; protection of control points;
fighting enemy snipers; delivery of ammunition and other materiel; evacuation of the wounded and sick.
In addition, the emergence of promising short-range reconnaissance and strike unmanned aerial vehicles necessitates the
creation of new elements of the combat formation of assault detachments - groups of reconnaissance and strike UAVs, which can
be tasked with destroying important enemy targets that impede the assault from the air.
Thus, the improvement of the weapons system of assault units is most likely due to the integration of the capabilities of the
crewed models of weapons and military equipment and robotic systems for military purposes.
The use of a functional approach in the analysis of the weapons system of assault units makes it possible to identify the most
significant subsystems, the effectiveness of which can be increased by introducing robotic systems into their composition, and also
to determine the main tactical and technical requirements for promising models of military robotics.
The formation of an integral and balanced system of weapons for assault subunits creates real preconditions for reducing
losses of personnel during the assault on populated areas and a qualitatively new level of performance of tasks for information
support, control, defeat of the enemy, protection of troops and their comprehensive support.
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