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    ‘Game-Changer’: Russian Battle Bot Development Could Eclipse US Program

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    Even though military assets inherited by Russia from the former Soviet Union were less advanced than the US arsenal, it’s no secret that the Kremlin has been developing weaponized armed forces robotics - from unmanned vehicles to fully autonomous artificial intelligence.

    The Russian military has been testing unmanned ground vehicles over the last few years, including the Nerekhta, the Uran-9, and the Vikhr, as reported by Business Insider. 

    The Nerekhta, a tracked unmanned ground vehicle, can be equipped with large-caliber machine guns, an AG-30M grenade launcher and anti-tank guided missiles.

    The Uran-9 and Vikhr are heavier than the Nerekhta and operate like infantry fighting vehicles. According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Nerekhta functioned better than other manned vehicles during training sessions.

    In addition, Moscow has made great progress in the development of unmanned aerial vehicles, known to be smaller and cheaper than US drones. According to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, the country's unmanned aerial vehicles have flown 16,000 missions in Syria — equivalent to 96,000 hours of flight time.

    The chairman of the Federation Council's Defense and Security Committee, Viktor Bondarev, recently announced that Russia is studying the concept of drone "swarms" — defined as dozens or more drones operating as a single unit. 

    Noticing Russia's recent improved electronic-warfare technologies, the US Army has stepped up its development of an electronic-warfare system to be integrated into a Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system.

    The Pentagon's Integrated Electronic Warfare System will consist of the Electronic Warfare Planning and Management Tool, the Multi-Function Electronic Warfare (MFEW) capability and the Defensive Electronic Attack capability. The MFEW system is a multifunctional cyber, electronic warfare, communications intelligence, electronic intelligence and signal intelligence platform.

    According to sources within the Pentagon, the development of autonomous combat drones "could be a game-changer," cited by Defense One.

    But the Kremlin is already a step ahead as, in early November, Bondarev announced that Russia plans to integrate artificial intelligence into military vehicles and combat operations, despite warnings by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk that AI weaponry may cause a global arms race culminating in a third world war.

    "The day is nearing when vehicles will get artificial intelligence. So why not entrust aviation or air defense to them?" Bondarev said.

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