Russian ‘Marker’ Combat Robots to Be Sent to Ukraine, Official Reveals

Russian “Marker” combat robots will be deployed to the front lines of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Russian state media reported on Sunday.

The combat robotic platform will undergo a “baptism of fire” on the battlefields of the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the “Tsar Wolves” military advisor group, announced on his Telegram account.

Rogozin, the former head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, added that the “Marker” combat robot “works autonomously” to perform combat missions, as well as locating targets from a distance of around 9.3 miles, according to state news agency TASS. The combat robot can also pinpoint and fire upon enemy targets “in the affected area with its own fire weapons,” Rogozin wrote.

The robots have been tested at Russia’s Vostochny Cosmodrome, TASS reported, ahead of “several” units heading for Eastern Ukraine.

Russian servicemen patrol the destroyed part of the Ilyich Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 18, 2022. The Russian-made “Marker” combat robot will be heading to the front lines of Russian forces in Ukraine for combat testing, according to state media.
Olga MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images

The final tests for the “Marker” were announced by state media in June 2020, with the head of the robot’s developer confirming that they would then be given to the Russian Defense Ministry.

Oleg Martyanov, the head of the Russian Foundation for Advanced Research Projects’ National Center for the Development of Technologies and Basic Elements of Robotics, said the developers had “already taught the ‘Marker’ to fire not only from a sporting gun, but also to hit flying discs from a Kalashnikov machine-gun many times faster than people do.”

He added that the combat robot could distinguish between civilians and military personnel to target those posing a “direct threat,” therefore “skipping the objects that are found along the trajectory of fire.”

On Wednesday, Russia’s state news service, Ria Novosti, reported that work on the “Marker” combat robot had been completed. The report said the combat robot weighed in at around 3 tons, and was capable of being furnished with various weapons systems.

Ria Novosti hailed the “Marker” as having the “most advanced autonomous driving skills in Russia with object recognition based on artificial intelligence technologies.”

In November 2021, Ria Novosti reported the “Marker” had been upgraded to serve as an autonomous “courier,” as well as being outfitted with the ability to evacuate wounded military personnel from a battlefield.

The previous month, TASS reported the “Marker” will be able to combat unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones, through “electronic pulses” and “suicide drones.” TASS, citing manufacturer Android Technics’ press service, said the combat robot would be able to detect unauthorized drones, personnel, and vehicles.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

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Ellie Cook