Russia is preparing to field its Marker unmanned ground vehicle to counter the Western battle tanks arriving in Ukraine.
Four Markers, armed with anti-tank missiles, will be deployed in Ukraine’s Donbas region to “destroy the Abrams and Leopards,” claimed military advisor Dmitry Rogozin to state-owned RIA Novosti.
The former director general of the Roscosmos Russian state space agency explained that the state-of-the-art vehicle’s electronic catalog, after being fed with the tanks’ images, allows it to automatically recognize and strike them.
Possible Vulnerabilities of Western Tanks
Citing military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the Russian outlet noted that the country’s terrain would force the tanks to operate close to adversaries, increasing the odds of their armor being breached.
“NATO tanks will have to operate in Ukraine at combat ranges of less than 1,500 meters (4,921 feet) due to terrain features, while their armor is adapted for ranges of more than 2,000 meters (6,562 feet),” Murakhovsky said, adding that the tanks’ large size adds to their vulnerability against anti-tank weapons.
Developers of the Marker upgraded the system for reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering roles in 2021, equipping it with the ability to communicate with a group of ground robots.
The three-ton tracked platform was also slated to be equipped with counter-drone capabilities such as radio electronic jamming and capturing networks.
A ‘Public Relations Stunt’
Doubting the platform’s effectiveness on the battlefield, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for New American Security Samuel Bendett told Task and Purpose that the “Marker was always presented as a proof of concept, a flagship project for general artificial intelligence applications.”
“It may have gone through classified testing that we are not privy to,” Bendett said. “But Donbas is not a controlled environment. It’s saturated with weapons and countermeasures.”
Bendett also questioned the logic behind deploying just four vehicles on the battlefield, calling it a “public relations stunt.”