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Russia’s Much-Hyped Robot Tank Is Actually Steaming Hot Garbage
The Uran-9 unmanned ground vehicle, bristling with anti-tank missiles and all manner of high-caliber machine guns, was supposed to be a revolutionary combat asset for the Russian Ministry of Defense ever since officials confirmed the powerful robot tank saw testing in war-torn Syria back in March. As it turns out, rumors of its effectiveness have been greatly exaggerated.
In a surprisingly candid admission, Russian defense researcher Andrei P. Anisimov revealed several critical deficiencies in the Uran-9’s performance during its Syria tests at a Russian security conference in April — deficiencies that indicate, as Defence Blog put it, that the much-hyped robot tank “is not capable of performing the tasks assigned to it.”
How not capable is the Uran-9? Let’s take a gander:
- Instead of an operational range of some 1.8 miles (or 2,800 meters), Anisimov claimed that the consistently sustainable range was just a mere 300 to 500 meters “in the conditions of the settlement with low-rise buildings,” per Defense Blog — meaning that the Uran-9 is more of a patrol cop than a suitable ground combat vehicle.
- During the Syria tests, Russian defense officials recorded “17 cases of short-term (up to 1 min) and 2 cases of long (up to 1.5 hours) loss of Uran-9 control,” as Defence Blog put it. It’s unclear what “loss of control” means in this context, but it implies that the robot tank simply stopped working while downrange rather than, say, ran amok like the ED-209 in RoboCop. And this is to say nothing of the 30mm 2A72 autocannon that experienced frequent operational delays.
- Like most new military tech, the Uran-9 breaks down like it’s nobody’s business — and not just the mechanical elements like the guiding rollers and suspension. According to Defence Blog, the “electro-optical” station that governs the vehicle’s target ID functions has a limit range of just 2 km. According to Defense Blog, the optical station “does not allow detecting optical observation and targeting devices of the enemy and gives out multiple interferences on the ground and in the airspace in the surveillance sector.”
Frankly, theses issues are unsurprising. As military researcher Sam Bendett observed for the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, a May testing video of the Uran-9 in action likely hinted at some of the issues that cropped up during the downrange tests in Syria. But more importantly, the Uran-9’s failures can still prove instrumental and instructive for other unmanned ground vehicles — like, say, the Kalashnikov-produced BAS-01G Soratnik, or what T&P; likes to call ‘Death Cab for Putin.’
(Reuters) - In the summer of 2004, U.S. soldier Greg Walker drove to a checkpoint just outside of Baghdad's Green Zone with his Kurdish bodyguard, Azaz. When he stepped out of his SUV, three Iraqi guards turned him around at gunpoint.
As he walked back to the vehicle, he heard an AK-47 being racked and a hail of cursing in Arabic and Kurdish. He turned to see Azaz facing off with the Iraqis.
"Let us through or I'll kill you all," Walker recalled his Kurdish bodyguard telling the Iraqi soldiers, who he described as "terrified."
He thought to himself: "This is the kind of ally and friend I want."
The US military quietly pulled 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan over the past year without a peace deal
The U.S. military has pulled about 2,000 troops from Afghanistan over the past year, the top U.S. and coalition military commander said Monday.
"As we work in Afghanistan with our partners, we're always looking to optimize the force," Army Gen. Austin Miller said at a news conference in Kabul. "Unbeknownst to the public, as part of our optimization … we reduced our authorized strength by 2,000 here."
"I'm confident that we have the right capabilities to: 1. Reach our objectives as well as continue train, advise, and assist throughout the country," Miller continued.
The New York Times was first to report that the U.S. military had reduced its troop strength in Afghanistan even though peace talks with the Taliban are on hiatus. The number of troops in the country has gone from about 15,000 to 13,000, a U.S. official told Task & Purpose on condition of anonymity.
Separately, the U.S. military is considering drawing down further to 8,600 troops in Afghanistan as part of a broader political agreement, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Oct. 19.
"We've always said, that it'll be conditions based, but we're confident that we can go down to 8,600 without affecting our [counterterrorism] operations, if you will," Esper said while enroute to Afghanistan.
So far, no order has been given to draw down to 8,600 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the U.S. official said.
After President Donald Trump cancelled peace talks with the Taliban, which had been expected to take place at Camp David around the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. military has increased both air and ground attacks.
In September, U.S. military aircraft dropped more ordnance in Afghanistan than they have since October 2010, according to Air Force statistics.
However, the president has also repeatedly vowed to bring U.S. troops home from the post 9/11 wars. Most recently, he approved withdrawing most U.S. troops from Syria.
On Monday, Esper said the situations in Syria and Afghanistan are very different, so the Afghans and other U.S. allies "should not misinterpret our actions in the recent week or so with regard to Syria."
DOHUK, Iraq/KABUL (Reuters) - The Pentagon is considering keeping some U.S. troops near oilfields in northeastern Syria alongside Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help deny oil to Islamic State militants, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Monday.
U.S. troops are crossing into Iraq as part of a broader withdrawal from Syria ordered by President Donald Trump, a decision that allowed Turkey to launch an offensive against the SDF which for years was a U.S. ally battling Islamic State.