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We intercepted no transmissions! This is a consular ship… Wait no. It’s not actually Darth Vader, though the Star Wars is strong in this one. It is, however the Central Research Institute for Precision Machine’s take on next-generation combat suits. Put on display on Thursday 29 June at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow, it is pitched as a possible successor to Russia’s present Ratnik body armour.

According to Oleg Chikarev, deputy chief of weapons systems at the Institute:

We’re working on a concept for the combat suit of the future. On display is our vision of the suit we would like to develop within the next couple of years. We’re also working with [Russian] companies specializing in various elements of combat equipment and we’re creating the features which, in our opinion, will help our soldiers carry out their missions on the battlefield.

Standing more than 1,80 meters tall, the suit is said to include a powered exoskeleton to increase performance and stamina. The Imperial Stormtrooper-style helmet features a tinted glass visor, while Andy Lynch of Odin Systems, a military equipment company, remarked that it “includes a task light on the helmet for examining things like weapons and maps. It also has a pop-up display that can be used for tasks like examining a plan of the battlefield. There is no mention about where the suits allows for carrying munitions, though.

The model is part of a global move towards meeting the challenges of future warfare by researching and developing more advanced combat systems for infantrymen. Besides more advanced optical systems, integrated GPS and computer systems to enable networking on the battlefield, next generation battle gear could include exoskeletons and a greater reliance on robotised platforms.

Lieutenant-General Andrey Grigoriev, head of the Advanced Research Foundation (ARF), Russia’s Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) equivalent, says he:

sees a greater robotization, in fact, future warfare will involve operators and machines, not soldiers shooting at each other on the battlefield.

And while that is still in the future, Russia is working on updating Ratnik, already in service with its armed forces, to Ratnik 2 and looking for next-generation possibilities. Legionnaire, one of such new projects, will feature sophisticated firearms, communication systems and enhanced gear ensuring all-round protection from bullets and shrapnel.