A state-of-the-art Russian combat suit deemed the “soldier of the future”, recently received an upgrade to the already impressive gear.
The upgrade to the “Ratnik” military kit—a complex multi-system set of portable and wearable combat gear designed for infantry soldiers—includes a mechanical watch and self-winding wristwatch that weighs a mere 100 grams. Though lightweight, it’s built tough, and can endure strong electronic pulses used in combat, "and even consequences of a nuclear blast," Rostec State Corporation, the Ratnik’s developer, said in a recent statement.
Moreover, it boasts an impressive service life of at least 10 years. Oleg Faustov, Chief Designer of Life Support Systems for Tactical Gear at TsNIITochMash—one of Russia’s leading weapons designers and producers—said of the watch: "The watch that we have included in the Ratnik combat gear set is capable to withstand solar irradiation and electromagnetic pulses, for example after a nuclear blast. If a soldier is exposed to electromagnetic emission of a nuclear bomb the watch will continue to operate without any interruption." Interestingly however, the nuclear-proof distinction given to the watch was not used for describing other gear that is part of the Ratnik kit.
The suit itself—which was also unveiled this year—features an incredible array of components (which includes 59 separate items):
• An armored digital helmet that features an information screen
• Armored face protection for added security
• A lightweight titanium exoskeleton
• A bulletproof neck protector for protection against snipers
• Flexible body armor that doesn’t hinder soldiers
• Protective footgear for quickly moving with stealth across virtually any terrain
Rostec's aims, which include “the introduction of a new techno-economic paradigm and the digitalization of the Russian economy,” are quite ambitious.
An even more high-tech version, named the Ratnik-3, is currently in the works, and may be in use as early as 2022, with an unveiling planned for two years earlier, according to Colonel General Oleg Salyukov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Forces: "We are completing the scientific research on creating the future layout of the Ratnik-3 combat gear. The implementation of the project will allow [the military] to increase the performance of a soldier by 1.5 times in completing various tasks."
As nuclear conflict looms—though opinion is divided about how eminent the threat remains—this wristwatch may prove more effective in the future. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BPA), in fact, moved the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock—a symbolic clock used by a team of experts and scientists that reflects the level of vulnerability to catastrophe the world is in at any given time—from three minutes to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight. The biggest concern cited by the consortium related to “...comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons,” and general uncertainty about the future of the nuclear program in various countries.
Though predictions abound when it comes to this subject, smart and effective planning and preparation for any unforeseen future combat reality are vital.