8 August 2014 army-technology.com
The Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is planning to acquire Ratnik, a locally manufactured future high-tech soldier system, in October.
Russian Ground Forces military and scientific department head Aleksander Romanyuta was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying: "Ratnik is currently undergoing its final tests and we hope that ... all the components will be purchased in series and supplied to the troops.
"If any deficiencies are found, they will be eliminated during the first year of exploitation."
Tochmash head Dmitry Semizorov told the news agency that the MoD plans to acquire up to 50,000 Ratnik sets every year, enabling the industry to provide the army with 70% of the new equipment.
Tochmash has also started production a new combat gear, which is scheduled to replace Ratnik in the future, Semizorov added.
Developed as part of the soldier military equipment (BES) programme, the Ratnik infantry soldier kit comprises more than 40 components, including firearms, body armour and optic, communication and navigation devices, life support and power supply systems, as well as knee and elbow pads.
Available in summer and winter variants, the lightweight gear can be used by regular infantry, rocket launcher operators, machine gunners and drivers and scouts, and is claimed to provide protection against environmental threats from weapons of mass destruction and non-lethal weapons.
The system has been successfully tested by the Russian Army, but its induction has been postponed due to problems in the fine-tuning of its light weapons, likely to be the new Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle, RIA Novosti reported.
Multiple soldier equipment programmes are currently underway in several countries worldwide, including the US' Land Warrior, Germany's Infanterist der Zukunft (IdZ), and the UK's future infantry soldier technology (FIST).
Other countries developing such systems include Spain with Combatiente Futuro (ComFut), Sweden's IMESS and France's Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégré (FELIN).