Russia has been providing Bashar al Assad’s Syrian regime with direct military support throughout the past seven years of the nation’s ongoing civil war, which has provided Russia with a testing ground to feature some of their more advanced weapons systems and platforms. Everything from Russia’s latest cruise missile, the Kalibr, to their oft-touted but rarely flown fifth generation competitor, the Su-57, has seen some time in the conflict — though it’s not always clear if Russia is looking for an opportunity to test their new gear, or if they’re just playing the media game, drawing headlines toward platforms they’re looking to drum up interest for in the export market.
Russia’s foreign efforts, however, are perhaps more widely recognized for their perception management endeavors, rather than military ones, and Syria has been no exception. With a history of misrepresenting actual military engagements and even claiming fabricated ones throughout Syria’s ongoing operations against rebels and Islamic extremists alike, it can be difficult to take anything Russia says about Syria at face value. Perhaps that’s why many defense experts are hesitant to believe Russia’s latest claims about the success of their Uran-9 in Syrian operations. The autonomous ground combat vehicle is effectively a heavily armed, ground based drone that it intended to supplement Russian ground troops in contested regions.
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, the Uran-9 earned its place in Russia’s recent Victory Day Parade thanks to operations conducted in Syria alongside another autonomous ground vehicle, the Uran-6, which specializes in anti-mine operations. Deputy Minister of Defense Yuriy Borisov told Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti,
The defense ministry announced that the robotic Uran-6 complexes designed for mine clearance were well-proven in Syria, as well as Uran-9 multifunctional reconnaissance and fire support system.”