On November 10, the Russian Defense Ministry’s Zvezda TV channel revealed military autonomous robotic complex “Kungas”, which is now being tested within the Russian Armed Forces.
The “Kungas” includes 5 unmanned ground vehicles (UGV): a man-portable UGV (weight: 12 kg), a light UGV (weight: 200kg), a transportable UGV (weight: up to 2t), a Nerekhta combat UGV (weight: 2.5t), and a robotic version of the BTR-MDM Shell armoured personnel carrier.
The Kungas is currently undergoing tests in the 12th Central Research Institute of the Russian Defence Ministry. The institute was created in the early 1950s. It is testing military equipment for resistance to various damaging factors, including those arising from a nuclear explosion. The experimental base allows to simulate a super-powerful shock wave and strong electromagnetic fields.
The Russian military did not provide extensive details on the project. However, data from the open sources allows to get a general look at the “Kungas” and vehicles that it includes.
1. A “man-portable” reconnaissance UGV with a manipulator. Its weight is 12 kg.
2. A “light” UGV. It can carry an engineering manipulator or a combat module. The combat module includes up to 4 anti-tank missiles or a PKTM 7.62 machine gun or a grenade launcher or a flamethrower system (Rocket-propelled Infantry Flamethrower). It’s weight is 200 kg.
3. A “transportable” fire support and reconnaissance combat UGV. The combat module includes a Kord 12.7 heavy machine gun (300 rounds) and an AG-30 automatic grenade launcher (90 rounds). Its weight is 2t. There are various configurations of this AGV.
4. The combat robot Nerekhta. The combat module in various options is equipped with a 12.7 mm machine-gun Kord (300 rounds) or a 7.62 mm tank machine-gun Kalashnikov. The module can be additionally equipped with the automatic grenade launcher AG-30M (90 rounds). Additionally to these weapons, the combat robot can carry additional 500kg of ammunition and equipment. The robot has various configurations, including reconnaissance, medical, transport, electronic warfare and other variants.
5. A robotic version of the BTR-MDM Shell armoured personnel carrier. It has various configurations. The robot is armed with a 12.7 machine gun Kord or a 7.62 machine gun PKTM, and an automatic grenade launcher AG-30 (300 grenades). Its main purpose is to be a transport module and fire support vehicle. The robot weight is 17t.
According to the report by Zvezda TV, all these combat UGCs can be controlled remotely from a single command post. This means that they are controlled by a unified control system within a single intelligent network. In this case, the concept is that any combat robot or a group of combat robots can be controlled remotely from a single center (controller) . The composition and the number of controlled robots can be different depending on the situation and the task. It’s also expected that UGVs of the “Kungas” system can perform tasks autonomously (without a direct control by an operator).
The Kungas robotic system is a breakthrough development for the Russian Armed Forces. From the data revealed, it becomes cleared that a platoon of combat robots has already been created within the Ground Forces. The unit is shaped in a manner that allows it to perform tasks on its own or in interaction with other units of the armed forces or form flexible situational groups of different composition with the inclusion of other robotic systems.
Combat UGCs of the Kungas system can provide fire, reconnaissance and other types of support to more expensive systems, like the Uran-9 tracked unmanned combat ground vehicle.
Therefore, in the relatively near future, the Russians will be able to form offensive or defensive orders consisting of various robotic systems. For example, one can imagine an upcoming tactical unit consisting of several Uran 9 combat robots and various Kungas UGVs providing them with the needed assistance. The additional support will be provided by unmanned aerial vehicles and conventional units.