Future Russian combat troops could wear an actual armored suit similar to the one designed for Tony Stark, Hollywood’s famous Iron Man Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Oleg Faustov, the deputy general manager of the manufacturer of combat and armored protection equipment, Armocom, recently announced that an “Iron Man” suit made of composite armor is in preparation for Russian combat troops. He was speaking during an interview with Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
The armored suit is being developed as part of Russia’s ambitious “Legionnaire Project” to equip future Russian soldiers. Describing the armor suit, Faustov said Iron Man’s suit was designed to completely cover a fighter’s body on the lines of the armor worn by medieval knights.
Faustov said the company would consider making such an armored suit, but an exoskeleton would be needed to support it when asked if such a thing was possible today.
Exoskeletons are futuristic armored robotic suits designed for soldiers to allow them to carry extra weight and give them sophisticated armor protection.
Earlier this month it was revealed that Russia plans to test exoskeletons this year, supposedly to give soldiers fighting in Ukraine better endurance and strength.
Maxim Skokov, the CEO of Ekzo Solutions in Russia, said his company had been contacted by Russian “special agencies” seeking to test and possibly use its equipment on Ukrainian battlefields.
“We are going to organize tests on a training ground in November or December, with a potential customer testing the effectiveness of our equipment in practice,” Skokov said.
In 2018, Rostec, a state-owned multinational, unveiled the first Russian-made combat suit. Military engineers tested the Ratnik, or “Warrior,” armored exoskeletons in Syria during the Russian military operation there, and Rostec recently claimed to have donated 300,000 suits to the Russian military.
However, despite a flood of complaints from across the country about the army’s inadequate weaponry, no Russian “Ratnik” exoskeleton has yet been spotted on the battlefield in Ukraine. The Iron Man suit is already gaining traction before the Ratnik exoskeletons can be battle tested against Ukrainian troops.
Russian troops will be dressed as Iron Man
All major military superpowers, according to Faustov, prioritize the development of an “Iron Man” costume that would cover a fighter’s body, similar to the superhero of the same name in Marvel movies and comics.
He pointed out that despite the widespread belief among experts that robots and drones will eventually replace humans in combat roles, human soldiers will still need to occupy specific locations on the battlefield and that as technology military progress, the risks to their lives will increase dramatically. That’s where the Iron Man armor comes in.
“Machines alone cannot occupy certain lines and territories, which means that the role of a human soldier in combat is irreplaceable. Therefore, the human soldier should be protected as much as possible, which is why all the main armies of the world, and we are no exception, are considering the possibility of creating such an “iron man”, Faustov said in Russian.
RIA Novosti was told by a source close to the military-industrial complex that the Legionnaire’s combat armor and body kit will replace the Ratnik. At the time, it was also revealed that research into the Legionnaire program was being done in earnest and would only take a year instead of the planned three.
An armored helmet equipped with an augmented reality system, capable of receiving data from drones, is planned to be created as part of the work to equip a soldier of the future within the framework of the Legionnaire next generation project.
“As part of this project, we plan, among other things, to study the possibility of creating a modular armored helmet, which will combine several advanced solutions at once, including augmented reality technology, i.e. various information about the battlefield situation, control signals and danger warnings will be displayed in the soldier’s field of vision,” he said.
Faustov further claimed that sensors would be added to the fighter’s helmet, allowing them to determine if a sniper or high-precision weapon was aiming at them. We can also consider making the helmet waterproof and equipping it with a radiological, chemical and biological protection system.
The military will also be able to directly control the drone, thanks to augmented reality technologies, which will display drone information, including an image, on the helmet. As Russian troops continue to suffer in combat without protective armor, the Legionnaire could potentially prove a savior as it becomes available.
While the description sounds like a plot from a sci-fi movie, these are real aspirations and plans laid out by the manufacturer. With battlefields becoming increasingly data- and AI-driven, several militaries, including the United States, are turning to network-centric solutions in addition to composite armor for their troops.