Russia has created a 12-ton “battle bot” which has been equipped with 12 Shmel-M man-portable rocket launchers classified as Rocket-propelled Infantry Flamethrower by their maker. Those can be fitted with destructive thermobaric and incendiary warheads.
The flamethrowers are fitted on top of the vehicle’s turret into two, presumably revolving, assemblies and appear to be a permanent add-on to the robot’s firepower, reports state-owned news agency Tass.
The “Uran-9” battle bot can also be configured with the standard armament of four “Ataka” anti-tank missiles, as well as 7.62mm and 30-millimeter guns.
As RT adds, the 12-tonne vehicle has also retained its main armament, allowing it to take on tanks and light fortifications. Uran-9 has a 30mm 2A72 automatic gun, a 7.62mm PKTM machine gun, as well as four Ataka anti-tank guided missiles. The robot can be also fitted with Igla MANPADs, boosting the anti-aircraft capabilities of the unit it’s deployed with.
While Russia says it has tested the bot in Syria and it “showed itself well,” according to Defense Blog – citing a presentation at a February Russian security conference, the battle bot performed poorly. In addition to losing contact with ground control stations, the Uran-9 reportedly suffered from an unreliable gun and suspension system, and had difficulty targeting while in motion.
Uran-9 is a tracked vehicle, with tracks instead of road wheels. The rollers and suspension that keep the vehicle running smoothly were rated of low reliability and required field repairs. This is surprising considering that Russia has a large armored vehicle force using tracks, including the new T-14 Armata tank, T-90MS tank, and BMP series combat vehicles. However the contractor, JSC 766 UPTK, largely sticks to unmanned systems–including an unmanned version of the new “Tigr-M” armored vehicle.
The remote fire control system is also a problem, with the 2A72 experiencing a lag before firing six times and an outright failure once. Another problem with the Uran is that the armament, optics, and sensors aren’t stabilized for firing on the move, requiring the vehicle to stop first. –Popular Mechanics
If that assessment is accurate, maybe they can iron out the kinks and ship a few to South African farmers? Flame-throwing battle bots and mech suits with giant claws ought to do the trick.