Russian troops carry the new "Baby Kalashnikov" AK-12 rifle during the Victory Day parade in Moscow. Credit: Sputnik.

The Russians call it, the “Ratnik” — warrior in English — and it represents a major quantum leap for Russia’s military forces, not to mention a major morale booster.

The Ratnik “soldier of the future” combat outfit utilizes lightweight body armor designed to protect up to 90% of a soldier’s body, as well as a highly-integrated, wireless communication system.

The latter provides greater situational awareness and sharing of vital intelligence between soldiers and units.

But that is only part of it — there are now claims in Moscow that 70% of the Russian Armed Forces will be equipped with brand-new and even “cutting edge” weapons and military hardware by the end of the year, according to a report by Peter Suciu at The National Interest.

Keep in mind, the end of the year is fast approaching. A bold claim?

“I think that upon the results of this year we will achieve a coveted amount, as we will approach to 70 percent in our army’s rearmament with advanced and promising types of weapons and military hardware,” Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov said in a televised interview.

Borisov said that state defense orders had not been, and will not be, disrupted due to the still ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Russia’s Special Forces have already received the new AK-12 Kalashnikov rifle, dubbed the “Baby Kalashnikov.” Credit: Handout.

Those claims were made despite the fact that the annual Victory Day parade, which is used to show off Moscow’s latest weapons, was delayed from May until June due to coronavirus concerns.

“Russian defense industry workers did not slow down even in the worst period of the pandemic,” he added. “The plans for 2020 will be implemented. We monitor this practically in manual mode.”

While it was smaller than past years, the Army-2020 Arms Fair still took place, and according to reports some 730 items of armament and military hardware were on display —and this ranged from heavy weapons and platforms such as the T-14 Armata tank, to small arms such as the AK-12 and AK-15 assault rifles.  

“I can name such products of Rostec (state hi-tech corporation) as the T-14 ‘Armata’ tank (MBT), the Su-57 fifth-generation fighter and the entire family of Kalashnikov new-generation assault rifles: the two-hundredth series,” Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheyev told TASS in the run-up to the Army-2020 international military and technical forum.

“Among the products of other manufacturers, I would like to mention the Bumerang standardized combat platform, the 59N6-TE radar capable of detecting hypersonic targets and many other weapons,” Mikheyev added.

Deputy Prime Minister Borisov did not specify exactly what the new equipment would include, but it has been speculated that it could include the aforementioned AK-12, and in August the first batch of the latest Kalashnikov rifles were delivered to the Russian Special Operations Forces.

Those rifles had officially entered service with the Southern Military District forces that are stationed in the Krasnodar Territory. Last July, some eight thousand AK-12s were also delivered to military units in the Central Military District.

The new 5.45 millimeter AK-12, dubbed the “Baby Kalashnikov,” is distinguished by its improved ergonomics compared to its AK-74M and AKM predecessors. It will eventually replace the Russian AK-74 rifles, which have been used since the Cold War.

Some experts think the Russian T-14 Armata outclasses the Cold War models that comprise NATO’s tank fleets, such as America’s M-1 Abrams, Germany’s Leopard 2 and Britain’s Challenger 2. Credit: AFP.

According to Defence World online, the mass of the assault rifle is 3.5 kilograms, the range of a direct shot is 440 meters. You can fire in three modes: burst, two-shot cutoff and single. For the first time, Picatinny rails are installed on the machine. The rate of fire of the weapon is 650 rounds per minute.

A new magazine has been developed for the assault rifle, which can be used as an emphasis for shooting. Identification windows also appeared. In addition, the assault rifle is part of the Ratnik outfit.

Since it was first unveiled in 2015, Russia has touted the virtues of the T-14, a next-generation tank with advanced capabilities, Forbes magazine reported.

It features an an active protection system to shoot down anti-tank rockets, sophisticated sensors and data networking, a strong degree of automation, and most notably a 125-mm cannon housed in an unmanned turret while the crew remains safely nestled inside the thickly armoured hull.

Some experts think the Armata outclasses the Cold War models that comprise NATO’s tank fleets, such as America’s M-1 Abrams, Germany’s Leopard 2 and Britain’s Challenger 2, Forbes reported.

While these nations are working on their own next-ges tanks, it will be years before they are fielded.

“Russia’s Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said in April that Russia was planning to start work with foreign customers of the Armata tank in 2021 and had already received several prior requests,” TASS noted.

Contrary to Borisov’s claims, up to now, the Russian Army has balked at procuring large numbers of T-14s, which are estimated to cost US$4 million apiece. 

The Ratnik 1, 2 and 3 (left to right) are Russia’s line of infantry suits. Ratnik 3 is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced pieces of equipment ever. Credit: Military Machine online.