Russia is developing a multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) that can operate both with and without a crew. In an interview with RIA Novosti, Vladimir Pimenov, the general director of VNII Signal (part of the High Precision Systems corporation) that created the robotization kit for this MLRS, said that if deployed, it will be the first robotic weapon of its sort in the Armed Forces. Simultaneously, intentions to robotize another, already in service with the MLRS – Tornado-G – were previously announced.
The institute is currently working on a robotization kit for the regular BMP-3. The robotic BMP-3 will come with a Sinitsa combat module. Furthermore, it focuses on robotizing a potential multiple launch rocket system, according to Pimenov. This will allow the forces to eliminate the presence of the combat vehicle’s crew in the danger zone while still allowing it to manage the MLRS from the cockpit of the combat vehicle.
The agency’s interlocutor said that the complete robotization is inappropriate since its technical performance reduces in unmanned mode. He said the company is working on the possibility of a remote mode, which can be used in the case of a direct threat.
For more than 65 years, JSC VNII Signal has been developing technologies for automated fire control of artillery units, automated guidance and fire control systems for cannon artillery and MLRS.
VNII “Signal” was formed by order of the Minister of Defense Industry of the USSR D.F. Ustinov dated April 19, 1955, No. 170, as a branch of TsNII-173 (now FSUE TsNII AG, Moscow) for the development and subsequent production at plant No. 46 (now KEMZ OJSC, Kovrov) of the first domestic tank stabilizers “Horizon” and “Cyclone”.
In 1967, the institute was entrusted with developing equipment and technologies for automated control of the new self-propelled guns “Gvozdika”, “Akatsiya”, and then the SAO “Tulip”, “Hyacinth”, “Peony”. They had practically had no foreign analogues, except for the Techfire system being developed in the USA.
The US TECHFIRE is a fire support information system for mortars and artillery howitzers that automates and speeds up all procedures associated with direct or indirect firing in a single gun or weapon unit, providing for more precision and control over supporting fire processes. The system’s interactive, user-friendly graphical user interface allows operators to deal with all types of fire control process data and provides a wide range of apps that allow users to interchange a wide range of operational information and instructions. Furthermore, it is interoperable with all available communications, data management, and laser rangefinder systems.
In 2020, the agency delivered automated fire control systems for artillery units 1V181 and 1V198. The use of 1V181 and 1V198 artillery fire control systems dramatically increases the effectiveness of artillery units on the battlefield. The system makes it possible to turn ordinary cannon artillery into a precision weapon capable of effectively destroying any type of target. It was developed as a part of the experimental design work (R&D) “Kanonada”.
In general, these automation tools ensure the opening of fire on a target reconnoitred and spotted by the user. This system is equipped with a new generation automated guidance and fire control system (ASUNO), which ensures the opening of fire of an artillery battalion from a march within 3 minutes and from a prepared firing position – less than 1 minute.
The system meets the requirements for automation of artillery control and is used for the Msta-S and Msta-B artillery systems, as well as Tornado-G and Grad MLRS. 1V198 performs several combat missions like fire, anti-fire manoeuvres and target identification. Moreover, it performs this consistently from two or more firing positions with an accuracy of up to 10 meters.
According to the institute, preparing for firing and developing new algorithms for problem solving increases fire accuracy by 25-30%, and guided projectiles of a new generation destroy enemy targets and objects with a probability of 0.98 – 0.99.
The system includes command and observation vehicles 1V1003 based on BTR-80 and command and staff vehicles 1V1004 based on Ural vehicles. The equipment provides full automation of fire control for up to four artillery batteries of various types.
Malva Self-Propelled Howitzer
The trials of Russia’s new self-propelled howitzer Malva, which is armed with 152-mm ammunition, are anticipated to be completed by the end of this year, according to the developers.
The new truck-mounted artillery system was created by the Russian Uralvagonzavod corporation’s Burevestnik Central Research Institute. The artillery unit is wheeled, and the maximum firing range of the Malva self-propelled howitzer, according to the developers, should be 24.5 kilometres (15 miles).