Ratnik (program)
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Ratnik Program
Ratnik equipment being worn by 4th Guards Tank Division soldiers

Ratnik (Russian: ; Warrior) is a Russian future infantry combat system. It is designed to improve the connectivity and combat effectiveness of combat personnel in the Russian Armed Forces. Improvements include modernised body armour, a helmet with a special eye monitor (thermal, night vision monocular, flashlight), communication systems, and special headphones. It includes 10 subsystems and 59 individual items. As of October 2016, it has already seen combat use.[1][2]


The Ratnik gear is a system of modern protective and communication devices, weapons and ammunition. It consists of a helmet, body armour; a one-piece coverall; hearing protection; protective glasses; a protective set for knees and elbows; a grenade launcher, submachine gun or assault rifle; sniper rifle, ammunition; a combat knife, as well as 24/7 reconnaissance means; a day and night sighting system; a small-size binocular; optical and thermal weapon sights, etc. As well as these, the system comprises a universal shelter, a multifunctional knife, a signal lamp, a watch, winter and summer two-side camouflage sets; an autonomous heat source; a backpack, an individual water filter; a small army banjo, breath protection devices; means of radiological and chemical control; a medical kit, and filtering clothes.[3]

The "Strelets" ("Musketeer") system provides voice and video communication. The system also includes a GLONASS navigation module so that a squad leader can see the location of each soldier on his small, book-sized, computer. With this computer, he also can give orders to his squad, and send videos and photos to headquarters. As well as this, each soldier has their own smaller telephone-sized tactical computer. The Strelets command, control, and intelligence (C2I) system was operated in the Syrian conflict to send target data to strike aircraft. The use of the Strelets in conjunction with the Su-24M frontline bomber provides almost 100% accuracy.[4]

Ratnik protects almost 90% of a soldier's body. The main body armour with plates, designated 6B45 '6?45', is rated at protection class 6, according to GOST R 50744-95,[5] and weighs 7.5 kg (with the Assault variant weighing up to 15 kg). The main body armour fully protects from 7.62×39mm rounds from assault rifles, and 7.62×54mmR from sniper rifles, including the increased penetration of hardened rounds, and can survive hits from repeated shots in these calibres conducted at close range.[6]. The plates inside the vest, designated Granit '', are removable from the 6B45 (6?45), with the inside of the vest being lined with kevlar for additional protection. These plates are shaped similarly to the "Shooter" variant of the United States Armed Forces Small Arms Protective Insert. The 6B43 was an early iteration of the 6B45 that was initially produced as part of the Ratnik program which had removable kevlar inserts.

Variants of the Ratnik Program body armour were designed for different purposes including the 6B46 (6?46) - a lighter-weight, para-droppable design aimed at replicating the popular small form factors and utility of American-produced equipment such as the Crye Precision JPC - and the 6B48 (6?48) - created for tank crews and issued in 2016.[7] Although the 6B46 (6?46) was issued as part of the initial Ratnik program, there is not much evidence of them being used by units in the field, with the first mass use seen in public occurring during the Slavic Brotherhood 2019 joint international exercise in Serbia. [8]

The weight of the full Ratnik infantry system with the special thigh and shoulder bulletproof shields is 19-20 kg. Basic Ratnik gear (for engineers and medics) weighs 15 kg (without thigh and shoulder guards). Ratnik gear is made of a special fabric that prevents troops from being detected by infrared devices. [9]

Russia's TsNIITochMash (part of the state hi-tech corporation Rostec) has developed more powerful 7N39 'Igolnik' 5.45mm rounds and their 7N40 version with the increased density of fire during its work on the next-generation Ratnik soldier gear.[10][11] Russia's holding company Shvabe has developed a new, lighter version of the thermal night vision weapon sight, which is to complement the soldier's field combat gear Ratnik. Russia's holding company Shvabe also created the technology increasing aiming distance.[12]

List of Individual Components in Use With The Ratnik Program

Combat Uniform Items

  • VKBO Layer system - a multilayer system manufactured by BTK Group designed for use at temperatures from +15 °C (59 °F) to -40 °C (-40 °F).
  • 6Sh122 Masking Suit (6?122) - a reversible combat oversuit designed for concealment in a variety of environments

Combat Equipment

  • 6B45/6B43 (6?45/6?43) - Primary body armour system for infantry units
  • 6B46 (6?46) - Plate carrier style armour system for light-weight units
  • 6B48 (6?48) - Primary body armour system for tank crews
  • 6B47 (6?47) - Aramid fibre helmet system rated for small arms fire. Includes two covers that allow the helmet to be jumpable, one white and one in the standard EMR (Digital Flora) pattern.
  • 6Sh116/6Sh117 (6?116/6?117) - Load bearing equipment with a variety of utility and magazine pouches to suit the various weapons of the Russian Military, includes a 7-litre 'butt pack' and 25-litre patrol backpack.
  • 6Sh118 RAID Pack (6?118) - 60-litre backpack designed for carrying large equipment and for long deployments.
  • GSSh-01-01 (6m2-1) - Active hearing protection with radio cable.


  • 6B50 (6?50) - Dust and impact goggles
  • 6B51 (6?51) - Knee and elbow protection based on an improved version of the Russian-made Splav 'X Pads'
  • 6Sh122 Gloves (6?122)
  • VKBO Summer boots
  • Faradei Winterised boots
  • 6E5 Light Shovel
  • 6E6 Multitool
  • 6Sh120 Shelter system
  • 6E4-1 Watch
  • FSS-014 Light - light system that can be mounted to 6B47 (6?47) helmet
  • NF-10 Individual water system

Production history

Prototype Ratnik kits were initially distributed to selected units in the Ground Forces in 2013 according to Oleg Martyanov, a member of Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, which acts as the government's liaison with the defense industry.[13] According to other sources, the Ratnik system underwent final acceptance tests in late 2013. All the equipment of Ratnik (firearms, body armour, optic, communication and navigation devices, medical, and power supply systems, as well as uniform items such as knee and elbow pads) were tested and accepted into service in the Russian Armed Forces on 23 October 2014.[14] Initially only elite troops will receive the AK-12 as part of the Ratnik system, while the rest of the Ground Forces will continue using the AK-74 into the 2020s.[15]

For the Russian Navy and Engineering Troops, the bulletproof vest is combined with a life vest, so that soldiers and sailors who are thrown into the water won't drown. All Naval Infantry units were equipped with Ratnik gear as of November 2016.[16][17]

Serial deliveries and batch production of Ratnik began in the first half of 2015.[18] The Russian Ministry of Defence has stated it will buy 50,000 sets annually.[19] About 200,000 Ratnik sets have been delivered as of September 2017, and it is expected that 100% of the Russian Armed Forces will be equipped with Ratnik gear by 2020.[20] Russia's Ground Forces and the Navy's coastal brigades are practically fully equipped with the Ratnik combat gear in March 2019.[21]



  1. ^ http://vpk-news.ru/news/32906 Archived 2016-10-12 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-08-25. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ https://www.armyrecognition.com/august_2019_global_defense_security_army_news_industry/russian_servicemen_receive_new_ratnik_combat_gear.html
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-23. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Ratnik: Russia's Warrior of The Future". www.thefirearmblog.com. 7 October 2015. Archived from the original on 8 October 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  6. ^ https://rg.ru/2017/03/20/video-bronezhilet-ratnik-rasstreliali-iz-svd-i-avtomata-ak-103.html Archived 2017-03-21 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  7. ^ "Russian tank crews to get new 6B48 Ratnik-ZK individual protection kits Tass 50908161". Army Recognition. 2016-08-09. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Slavic Brotherhood 2019: Russian and Serbian troops train to parachute and release hostages<!lang>" (Press release) (in {$lang}</!lang>). Russia. 2019-06-19. Retrieved .CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-04-03. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-03-02. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-03-06. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ https://tass.com/defense/1075716
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-26. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ http://www.rusdialog.ru/news/7494_1414085840 Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-02-27. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ http://vpk-news.ru/news/34155 Archived 2016-12-11 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  18. ^ http://ria.ru/defense_safety/20150610/1069159296.html Archived 2015-07-27 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  19. ^ http://lenta.ru/news/2015/01/15/ratnik/ Archived 2015-01-28 at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-09-27. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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