According to RIA Novosti and TASS (Russian news agencies) Land Forces of Russian Federation started issuing “Ratnik” (Warrior) kits to the troops. As covered earlier on TFB, Ratnik includes a number of upgrades to existing weapons and gear, as well as new equipment. They’ve already issued about 100,000 such kits, which generally receive positive feedback from the soldiers.
Commander of Russian Land Forces Colonel General Oleg Solyukov said, that they continuously modernize and upgrade Ratnik program. They will keep adding and modifying its components to keep up with the changing requirements of the troops. They also plan to purchase and issue 70,000 more kits annually.
In the video above Russian troops are testing Ratnik equipment in Alabino proving ground (near Moscow).
Judging from what appears in the video, there is a later model AK-12, which is basically a heavily upgraded and accessorized AK-74, and an AEK-971 balanced action rifle. Both rifles were initially announced to be included in the program.
Russia also has announced about future development of the program – “Ratnik-3”. Russian companies have already started working on this next generation project. They will develop an exoskeleton, advanced helmet and target designation systems and adaptive camouflage to include in Ratnik-3. This new program will presumably be ready for trials and adoption somewhere between 2025 and 2030.
I think this is absolutely the biggest advance in Russian infantry equipment and small arms since the collapse of the Soviet Union.