The Uralvagonzavod (UVZ) factory has reportedly started the testing phase of the Sturm unmanned heavy-duty ground combat vehicle. The unmanned tank is intended to be deployed on the Ukrainian front lines, according to Life.ru.
Russian UVZ started developing the unmanned tank project before the attack on Ukraine was created, but recent developments appear to have accelerated progress.
The test program involved live-fire drills against a variety of target scenarios, with a focus on the use of the Sturm's 125 mm cannon.
The Sturm unmanned tank project was developed in four versions. The first variant is equipped with a 125 mm smoothbore cannon. The second variant was designed to accommodate a rocket-propelled infantry flamethrower weapon with a Shmel-M thermobaric warhead. The third variant is fitted with two 30 mm cannons as a Fire Support Vehicle (FSV). The fourth variant is a combat robot with a thermobaric rocket launcher system, such as the TOS-1A.
The Sturm project was developed by utilizing the advanced technology of the T-14 Armata tank, which is also planned to be produced in an unmanned version.
The current T-72B3M MBT is mounted with the Relikt explosive reactive armour (ERA). The new armour offers protection against shaped charges, tandem warheads, armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds, ATGMs, and low-velocity and high-velocity missiles. The tank also has a positive pressure-type nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system.
A new V-92S2F engine powers the tank with 1,130hp. The power plant provides a maximum road speed of 60km/h and a maximum range of 550km.
The unmanned version will not need such an armour protection level or an NBC protection system.