Syrian Developed Tracked RC Weapons Platform

Two Arabic news sources (Military-Zones, Middle East Panamera) have published independent posts about a remote control vehicle currently at least in the developmental phase of design within the highly contested Aleppo province in Syria. The designers are in areas still in control by Assad’s Syrian Arab Army, and have been working with the SAA in the hopes of a purchase. Originally it was constructed due to Syrian troops taking casualties in the current fight against numerous rebel and terrorist groups operating throughout Syria and especially in Aleppo province. The group mentioned backing the project is the Aleppo Chamber of Industry, however, this is from the Google Translation and is most likely a translation error instead of any actual organization.

Given the circumstances described, working under less than ideal conditions amid the chaos and violence going on in the province. According to the reports, it has been over a year in development. Currently, it appears to be a tracked RC vehicle with a camera showing the direction of movement and fire. It has been observed with PKM machine guns mounted, in addition to an unidentified rocket launcher (readers chime in?). It appears that all RC controls are basic in that it can probably propel itself in any ground direction, the weapons mounted might have elevation and traverse capabilities, and it can be fired remotely. Other than this, it doesn’t appear that it can change out ammunition, remotely charge a PKM or clear a malfunction, or climb over the rubble and debris found in an urban terrain.

Nonetheless, the vehicle is certainly an achievement given the situation it was created in. However, I’m not sure if it will offer itself as a battlefield multiplier to the SAA due to the constrictions listed above, and due to the nature of the fighting. Having one of these RC vehicles is great, but it could be easily outflanked or maneuvered simply by moving to ground high enough where it couldn’t traverse to, or by having at least two angles of attack on the vehicle. Essentially a platoon or company commander would have to have a number of these vehicles to cover each other, in addition to troops who understand the capabilities and limitations of the device, very similar to infantry troops fighting alongside armor. When done correctly it can be a force multiplier, but if done incorrectly the results can be catastrophic.

 





Miles

Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


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  • Major Tom

    The rocket launchers appear to be RPG-29s.

    • The Raven

      Or the RPG-32…

      • JoshuaK27

        I think they are either Chinese type 78’s or 82’s with the optical sight removed and used in conjunction with camera, maybe not though .

        • EC

          Type 78’s feature a different iron sight, a carry handle, and are breech-loading weapons with an pretty obvious hinge near the rear. It would be difficult for this to be a Type 78.

  • Tassiebush

    I’ll be impressed (okay maybe the wrong word given the context) when I see someone develop a radio controlled killdozer!

    • Herp

      I have often wondered why it hasn’t happened already. Make a tank that’s crewed by 2 people for field maintenance and manual operation and have remote operators shoulder some of the operations jobs, or just monitor some of the sensors. Or have a feed from the tanks that goes to the air drone operators so they could work in tandem. Make the tank be basically an ordnance carrier for the drone.

      Maybe communication is already there. I’m told it’s been there for fighter planes for quite some time.

      • Tassiebush

        I totally ponder the same thing.
        I think the really interesting question is how much hacking or scrambling of signals might be an issue because potentially huge citizen armies and air forces could control such drones remotely and given that it would be regardless of their physical condition it would increase potential manpower hugely so the numbers that could be fielded would be down to mix of suitably trained citizenry and industrial capacity to stock them.

      • EC

        While over here we mostly do air drones (with a few minor exceptions), the Russians and Chinese have gone far beyond us in terms of unmanned ground combat vehicles.

        The biggest one is the Russian Uran-9, armed with a 30mm autocannon, anti-tank missiles, and machineguns.

        The Chinese have their “drone carrier” called the Sharp Claw 2. Itself a recon drone, it can release both a small flying drone and the Sharp Claw 1, a lightly armed smaller drone.

        For its part the T-14 (and M1AX) might have an on-board drone (operated by… who knows) which would allow the tanks to scout by themselves. The T-14 is already heavily automated (unmanned turret) and could theoretically be operated remotely.

        So yes, it’s happening. Just not done by us.

  • EC

    My money is on it being an RPO/MRO thermobaric rocket launcher.

    It’s not an RPG-29 because the grips are far too much forward. In an RPG-29 the grips would be towards the centre, or the rear of the tube if it was disassembled.

    The RPG-32, on the other hand, does have a forward placement grips. However, it is a weapon where the rear of the tube is completely replaced to reload it, which makes for a rather significant “hump” in the tube. The launcher in this picture does not have that “hump”. There are also other key differences, like in the types of grips.

    On the other hand, there is a high chance of it being an RPO-A. The sights are similar in construction. The rear grip is offset. The body matches. And, most importantly, a thermobaric launcher makes sense to burn out dirty rebels (instead of trying to hit them with a tandem-charge HEAT warhead).

    So to me it looks like an RPO-A.

    • Major Tom

      The iron sights are definitely RPG-29 though. And RPG-29 has thermobaric options for ammo. And a thermobaric only weapon like the RPO-A wouldn’t be much effective if the rebels pulled out a captured T-72 like they’ve been known to do from time to time.

      Maybe a new upgraded RPG-29? RPG-29M?

  • tenmillimeter

    this seems like a counter sniper weapon more than a squad augmentation. this is how I would field it.