Russian Marker combat anti-tank robots UGVs arrive in Ukraine to fight Ukrainian tanks

According to the Russian news agency TASS, four Marker anti-tank robotic UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) platforms have arrived in Ukraine and specialists have started testing algorithms of conducting warfare within a group of combat robots, Dmitry Rogozin, Russian ex-space boss and head of a group of military advisers and the Tsar Wolves research and technical center, said. A video has been released, showing the arrival of the UGVs.
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One of the four Russian Marker anti-tank UGVs that arrived in Ukraine to conduct operational field tests (Picture source: TASS )

“The first four Marker robots have arrived in the region strictly on schedule. We begin downloading target images and testing algorithms of warfare within a unit of combat robots and installing powerful antitank armaments,” Rogozin said. He earlier said Marker combat robots would be tested in the war zone in Ukraine.

The Marker robotic platform was engineered under a joint project of the National Center for the Development of Technologies and Basic Robotic Elements within the Advanced Research Fund and the Android Technics Research and Production Association. The robotic platform is designed to create future warfare models.

Marker combat UGV

The Marker has been designed by the National Center for the Development of Technology and Basic Elements of Robotics and the Android Technics company. Marker is designed to be modular, with open information architecture. One configuration for the testbed arms it with a Kalashnikov-produced machine gun and anti-tank grenade launchers. More armament combinations may be expected to be tested. What deserves to be observed in the video is the way the turret on the robot tracks a target with the rifle carried by the infantryman. In an official statement from ARF, the agency said the Marker is designed to work “in pair with a fighter, receiving target designation from the sight of his weapon,” or be controlled remotely. So, the Marker would shoot only after the accompanying infantryman has validated the target. But it could operate autonomously if programmed to do so.

A modular multispectral vision and data processing system, featuring neural network algorithms, supports autonomous operations. Other mission systems include a laser warning system, thermal sensors, day/night infrared (IR) cameras, laser rangefinder, target detection, early warning system, identification, and tracking equipment. This generates a new way of cooperation between man and robot where AI-powered sensors take aim and the human checks in before firing. It turns infantry into spotters for robots that will progress on the path of autonomy. ARF clearly sees the Marker as a learning tool, saying “the evolution of combat robots is on the path of increasing the ability to perform tasks in autonomous mode with a gradual reduction in the role of the operator."

The press office of the Android Technics Research and Production Association told TASS that “The Marker robot can be used with various modules and can carry a machinegun, loitering munitions, military and medical equipment, electric rockets, and two types of unmanned aerial vehicles, i.e. tube-launched and towed ones”. Earlier, Head of Russia’s Roscosmos state space corporation Dmitry Rogozin said that the Marker robotic platform had started to patrol the Vostochny cosmodrome. According to him, the Marker operated in remote-controlled and autonomous modes.

The Marker is based on a tracked chassis with five roadwheels, an idler at the front, a drive sprocket at the rear, and two roller returns. A wheeled version of the Marker UGV is also available. Citing information from the Russian defense industry, the robot has a maximum cruising range of 1,000 km and an autonomy of 60 hours. The tracked version can run at a maximum speed of 70 km/H while the wheeled version can reach a top speed of 80 km/h. 

The anti-tank version of the Marker UGV is fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with four RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launchers mounted to the right side of the turret. The rocket carries a 72.5 mm diameter high explosive anti-tank single-shaped charge warhead capable of penetrating 440 mmof armour, 1 meter of reinforced concrete, or 1.5 m brickwork. It has a maximum effective range of around 250 m. 

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The wheeled version of the Marker UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle. (picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)