Will US soldiers be issued with ballistic armor?

Putin's infantryman of the future

Kalashnikov, Telnyashka and Titanhelm are by no means the peaks of military evolution in the Russian Empire. As part of the armed forces' ongoing rearmament program, the soldier's personal equipment is also being improved. This is the RATNIK equipment system, the functions of which are currently still being tested by the armed forces. The procurement became necessary because the Russian infantry forces have completely outdated personal equipment that is technically far inferior to Western equipment. Udo L├╝cken looked at the new Russian system for us.

The RATNIK program consists of around 40 technical parts with a total weight of only 24 kilograms. This makes the system lighter than comparable western equipment concepts. The aim of the new equipment is also to create a networked soldier who can use the Russian navigation system GLOSNASS to determine his own location and / or transmit it to other units. With the exception of the elite units, the Russian armed forces have not yet had this capability.

Around 50 Russian companies worked together with the armed forces on the new combat suit concept, which is essentially based on Western standards. The RATNIK equipment concept continues the development of the current Barmitsa system and consists of around 150 new components. This includes a combat suit with new wearing properties, various protective helmets, ballistic protective vests as well as ear, eye, knee and elbow protectors. The latest generation of night vision technologies are also part of it. What is striking about the new combat suit is the camouflage pattern, which combines four different colors. Different combinations of camouflage colors are used in different shades of green and brown, which are applied to the fabric in a speckled form. The camouflage pattern was designed by Russian troops as a multicam camouflage pattern and has already been tested in use. Depending on the task of the armed forces, different interpretations of the new camouflage pattern will be used. The combat suit is made of breathable and water-repellent fabric. It should not only protect against fire and weather influences, but also significantly reduce the soldiers' ability to detect infrared signals.

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The new ballistic protective vest is not made from the hard metal titanium, but from ceramic plates with Kevlar. This material enables effective ballistic protection against ammunition in caliber 5.56mm and above. The ballistic protective vest can also withstand sniper ammunition up to .300 caliber if it is reinforced accordingly, which is possible with protective plate inserts. Russian marines can use a special modification of this protective vest with buoyancy aids (so-called flotation kit). The level of protection of the new ballistic protective vest has been increased by 50 percent compared to the old version, according to Russian sources.

The new helmet is also made of high-strength composite materials and offers the possibility of better accommodating or integrating night vision devices. He also has a camcorder in order to be able to make recordings of the ongoing battle and, if necessary, to transmit them to a command post or group leader. In addition, a visor can be integrated on the helmet, which, if necessary, can be connected to the night vision target optics of the assault rifle used. This gives the shooter the opportunity to hold his rifle over an obstacle and observe a section of terrain without having to expose his upper body. This is also a "Look around the corner" - for example in urban warfare scenarios - possible, which brings a significant tactical advantage when holding down or fighting an enemy directly from cover.

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Special emphasis was placed on the night combat capability of the new RATNIK system, in order to enable the Russian soldier to recognize and fight enemy forces from long distances. This was previously not possible and represents a further innovation in the modernized equipment concept of the Russian armed forces. The Ministry of Defense in Moscow has signed a three-year contract with the state industry, which provides for the annual purchase of almost 50,000 sets of combat armament. The equipment concept is technically comparable to the German GLADIUS, the French FELIN or the British FIST. In February of this year, the RATNIK equipment concept will be exhibited at the armaments fair (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi. It had previously been presented at the Eurosatory international arms trade fair in Paris in 2014. The successor model RATNIK 2, which is being planned, should bring further technical improvements.

Source reference: "Newsletter Defense Edition 07-2015"

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Presentation at Eurosatory 2014.