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Paul Hair is a national security expert and an author. He writes under his own name and as a ghostwriter. Connect with him at http://www.liberateliberty.com/. Contact him at paul@liberateliberty.com.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Russia and Next Generation Military Uniforms

Left: 2003 U.S. Future Warrior Prototype.
Right: 2017 Russian Future Warrior Prototype.
Late in June, media outlets covered a prototype Russian military uniform. A similar theme ran throughout their stories: the uniform looks like a Stormtrooper from a Star Wars film. But while the display of the uniform is significant, the assessment shouldn’t be that it looks like a Stormtrooper. Instead, it should be that the Russian uniform looks like a prototype American military uniform first displayed in 2003.

Contemporary media hysteria about Russia undoubtedly influenced the effort to characterize the displayed Russian uniform as similar to a Star Wars Stormtrooper. A June 30 article in The Daily Mail provides a typical sample of this media narrative.

It might resemble something out of Star Wars, but this is the prototype for a combat suit that Russia hopes will give its soldiers the edge on the battlefields of the future.
The high-tech item includes an exo-skeleton, or outer layer, designed to boost strength and stamina and a layer of body armour to shield the wearer from bullets.
The all-black kit also has a Stormtrooper-style helmet with a tinted glass visor and a mini task light poking out of the side.
It was put on display on Thursday at the National University of Science and Technology in Moscow.
A model standing more than six-feet tall wore the suit while cradling a fearsome-looking firearm in a pair of black padded gloves.

The Star Wars angle to the story is misleading. It encourages the reader to view the story from a perspective that Russia is a cartoonish villain. And this distracts from solid analysis of what the Russians unveiled. Solid analysis results in realizing that this new Russian uniform looks similar to an American prototype introduced in 2003.

The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center (NSSC) posted an update on its Future Warrior during the July-August time period of 2003. Future Warrior of 2003 looks quite similar to what the Russians just displayed in 2017.

Furthermore, the helmet of the Russian prototype bears some striking similarities to what an in-production U.S. military helmet looks like.

So the true assessment of the Russian prototype should have nothing to do with how it supposedly looks similar to a Star Wars Stormtrooper. Instead, the assessment should be that the Russians are paying attention to what America is doing—and they are (at the very least) imitating it. That should be of interest to anyone interested in national security.

But media are uninterested with the truth. And the only way they seem capable of relating to the world any longer is by interpreting it through their own fantasies.

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