The robot version of the BMP-3 promises impressive battlefield performance.

Bulgarian Military quoted Rostec CEO Sergey Chemezov as saying that using the Sinitsa combat module, Russia has upgraded the BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle into a remotely controlled robot. Based on reports from Russian media, Russia is preparing to test this new combat vehicle in Ukraine.

The BMP-3 is a modernized version of the Russian BMP infantry vehicle. Since its official launch in 2015, the BMP-3 has continuously been deployed by Russian military forces. In 2020, Russia began looking for international customers for the BMP-3. According to retired colonel and military expert Viktor Litovkin, the robot version of the BMP-3 promises impressive battlefield performance. The autonomous BMP-3 is not only a basic unmanned ground vehicle, but also a sophisticated and quite expensive combat robot.

In 2021, preliminary information about the BMP-3 Sinitsa prototype surfaced. The BMP-3, constructed on a tracked chassis, sports a UTD-19 V-shaped engine with a 500 hp rating. The robot’s manufacturer stated that the unmanned BMP-3 model could cross trenches as wide as 2.5 m. Rostech had previously projected the top speed of the robotic vehicle to be 70 km/h, and its 700-litre fuel tank could cover 600km before it would need refueling. The actual specifications are yet to be confirmed.

In addition to a built-in panoramic view scope, the “Sinitsa” robotic combat module will be a part of the complex. The mechanized unit will be armed with a principal artillery of 100 mm and a secondary artillery of 30 mm, along with a 7.62 mm machine gun.

Equipped with omnidirectional cameras, BMP-3 robotics will allow remote control operation. As per its Russian designers, the device will be capable of working autonomously, creating 3D terrains using data from extra sensors. It will also feature AI to assist with route mapping, alongside a surveillance mini-drone for reconnaissance and mine clearance.

It is understood, based on various Russian sources, that Russian military engineers have developed three variant remote-controlled BMP-3 models compatible with the Sinitsa module. Each model differs according to its function.

The UDAR UGV, next up, is an unmanned ground vehicle fitted with DUBM-30 epoch armed with a 2A42 autocannon, 7.62mm PKMT machine gun, and Kornet-M ATGM, with a raised center hull.

Following the UDAR UGV is the Vikhr UGV, an unmanned ground vehicle armed with a smaller turret. It possesses a 2A72 autocannon, a 7.62mm PKMT coaxial machine gun, and holds six anti-tank guided missiles, the 9M133M Kornet-M. It can deploy both ground and aerial drones.

Finally, we have Prokhod-1, an unmanned anti-mine vehicle featuring the TMT-C anti-mine trawl and a remotely controlled turret with a 12.7mm machine gun.

By inference, Moscow’s interest seems more focused on testing the Sinitsa remote control module’s abilities in real combat scenarios rather than assessing the performance of infantry vehicles. Russia, along with several other countries such as the United States, is actively working on similar technological advancements that reflect an increasing propensity toward robot wars.


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