Russia Parades Hypersonic Missiles, Futuristic Exoskeletons, New Fighter Jets and Tanks

Russia's arms industry is flaunting an array of new devices, including an exoskeleton for a soldier, new hypersonic missiles and a prototype of a machine likened to a Star Wars walker, in a major arms expo this month.

Military manufacturers have submitted items under development or recently developed for presentation at the country's marquee annual event outside Moscow, Army-2018, this week. The expo regularly sheds some light into prospective and speculative kit that the Russian military and the Kremlin's clients could be bidding for soon.

One of the most frequently discussed items on show was the exoskeleton, designed by state corporation Rostec. The equipment is a concept that the company wants to integrate with a long-developed revamp of soldiers' personal combat uniforms, called the "soldier of the future" project. The carbon-fiber technology is designed to carry 110 pounds of additional weight, assisting the wearer while moving, a statement from Rostec to RIA Novosti said. Manufacturers are yet to provide a practical demonstration of the exoskeleton.

The Kinzhal missiles, touted as the future of Russian defense by President Vladimir Putin at his address to lawmakers earlier this year, are also making an appearance at the expo, as is the hypersonic rocket complex Avangard. The manufacturers showed the launches of both on video, including footage of the MiG-31BP upgraded fighter jet, which carried the Kinzhal.

russian tank
A picture taken on August 21, 2018 shows a Russian Armata tank T-15 in Kubinka Patriot Park outside Moscow during the International Military-Technical Forum Army-2017. The T-15 Armata is a Russian heavy infantry fighting vehicle first seen in public in 2015 during rehearsals for the Moscow Victory Day Parade. Yekaterina Anisimova/AFP/Getty Images

Besides the new modification of the supersonic MiG-31, the expo also featured another highly anticipated aircraft in the Su-57. The fifth-generation stealth fighter jet is meant to be Russia's first entry into the cutting-edge generation of stealth jets and is scheduled to continue tests into next year. Moscow has widely touted it as a possible rival to the U.S. F-22 Raptor. Despite a strong push by state media to drum up excitement for the jet's capabilities, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov curbed expectations for introducing many units of the jet into the air force last month, telling state TV channel Rossiya 24 that the model had proven itself during a mission to Syria and "there is no point for us to force it into mass production."

Russia's T-14 tank, boasting an armor impenetrable by currently available anti-tank weapons according to its developer, is also on display at Army-2018. Although first unveiled in 2015, the tank is still not in use and its unmanned turret, 125mm high-velocity cannon and other modern accouterment have not been seen deployed in the field. The armored vehicle is still undergoing tests before it can become standard military issue, but Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov admitted last month the tank may be too expensive for the country's military to order.

Other smaller items on display include an underwater drone with an inbuilt machine gun and an anthropomorphic robot that unsuccessfully tried to engage the head of Russia's space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, in conversation.

Machine gun manufacturer Kalashnikov previewed several rifles at their stall and a hybrid buggy OV-2, however the most attention-grabbing installation was a large concept vehicle reminiscent of the fictional AT-ST walkers from the original Star Wars trilogy. The company said in a statement that the device is indeed a genuine concept that is under development and once completed will be featured in the next expo. The machine's purpose will be to "perform engineering and combat tasks," the statement said, giving no more details.