MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Defense Ministry will start mass purchases of domestically designed “future soldier” gear in 2014, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.
The gear, dubbed Ratnik, comprises more than 40 components, including firearms, body armor and optical, communication and navigation devices, as well as life support and power supply systems, and even knee and elbow pads.
The equipment can be used by regular infantry, rocket launcher operators, machine gunners, drivers and scouts.
“We have practically finished work on the Ratnik gear and will start purchases of series-produced equipment for our army next year,” Shoigu told reporters on Saturday.
The Ratnik gear has been successfully tested by the Russian military but is adoption into service has been delayed due to uncertainty with the choice of small arms component, which is likely to include the new Kalashnikov AK-12 assault rifle.
Many other nations have similar future soldier equipment programs in progress, including the U.S. Land Warrior, Germany's IdZ, Britain's FIST, Spain's COMFUT, Sweden's IMESS and France's FELIN.