The Courier: A Look at Russia’s Latest Armed UGV Platform

What to Know:

Over the past week, Russian milbloggers have unveiled more details about Russia’s newest armed unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), called the “courier,” which made its battlefield debut last month along the Berdychi front, just west of Avdiivka, Donetsk.

Their effectiveness remains unknown, and it is unclear if Russia will seek to further deploy armed UGVs during the conflict. Ukraine is also testing similar platforms, but none have seen combat yet.

The Debut:

News of the platform’s deployment first hit social media on March 29, with a still from a Ukrainian drone feed showing two robotic UGVs armed with Russian ASG-17 grenade launchers. At the time, nothing was known of its name or effectiveness, as this was the first recorded instance of Russian forces using armed UGVs in combat.

The next day, footage was released showing Ukrainian explosive FPV drones target and disable both UGVs.

The debut of the platform offered little in regard to its capabilities and effectiveness in combat, as well as how Russian forces are utilizing the platform. From what we know about Berdychi, the village has seen constant fighting since Russian forces captured the city of Avdiivka in February. The village lacks Ukrainian trench lines and has almost exclusively seen the targeting of Ukrainian armor by Russian ATGM and explosive drone attacks. With that, the UGVs, armed with grenade launchers, lacked infantry targets as they moved down one of the village’s main roads while out in the open, making them easy prey for FPV strikes.

More Details Unveiled:

On Wednesday, Russian milbloggers Boris Rozhin and Chingis Dambiev released additional information and media about the UGV, where the name “courier” was officially announced.

According to the milbloggers, the UGV can be outfitted with an array of weaponry, including, but not limited to, AGS-17 and AGS-30 grenade launchers, RPO, RPG, and ATGM rocket launchers, and 12.7mm machine guns. Likewise, they said that the platform can also be fitted with electronic warfare (EW) systems, which would be done so to counter Ukrainian FPV strikes that we saw take out the first two.

One thing that the two claimed was that the UGVs were showing “good practical results” in combat operations, but so far there isn’t any additional open source material to support this.

In the configuration above, you can see the attachment points for the rocket launchers as well as the EW system mentioned before, located on the right side of the UGV. The milbloggers explain that, like the weapons, various EW platforms can be installed and configured, further alluding that they would also be used to counter other potential UGVs by Ukrainian forces. They added that the EW would not only protect the UGV but also accompany infantry units as well. Additionally, this configuration has a unique camera system unlike anything previously seen.

Practicality?

As Dambiev put it, “In the foreseeable future, drones of this type will take their place on the battlefield, just as we saw with air and sea drones… further robotization of war seems inevitable.”

The conflict in Ukraine had ushered in a new age of combat innovation with the use of explosive FPV drones to attack from the air and unmanned surface vessels (USVs) to attack from the sea. Up until now, UGV platforms have been used in Ukraine, but none have been armed for direct combat operations (aside from a handful of instances with UGVs packed with explosives similar to that of the Goliath in WWII).

The frontlines of the conflict have remained largely stagnant over the past year, and trench warfare has been a continuous, grueling effort. FPV drones have proven their effectiveness at striking targets both along and behind trench lines of both sides. Armed UGVs could provide utility in engaging enemy trenches while traversing no man’s land, acting as mobile shooting platforms that can suppress certain areas to allow for infantry movements (the grenade launcher configuration could be useful in lobbing fire into enemy trenches).

There is also an argument that this could be used for urban warfare, although it would largely be limited to city streets and not fighting within buildings.

Ultimately, the effectiveness of armed UGVs remains to be seen in a conventional warfare setting. Like the FPV and USV drones, the UGV will go through several iterations before its utility is fully understood.

Atlas
Atlashttp://theatlasnews.co
Unbiased & Unfiltered News Reporting for 12+ years. Covering Geo-Political conflicts, wartime events, and vital Breaking News from around the world. Editor-In-Chief of Atlas News.

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