TechRussia deploys mysterious unmanned 'Zubilo' vehicle in Ukraine

Russia deploys mysterious unmanned 'Zubilo' vehicle in Ukraine

Russian combat robot Zubilo
Russian combat robot Zubilo
Images source: © X, @GeromanAT
1:17 PM EDT, April 2, 2024

After a series of tests, Russia has decided to deploy a new unmanned vehicle in Ukraine—the Zubilo. Although information about it has circulated for several months, this vehicle's precise specifications and capabilities remain somewhat shrouded in mystery.

Reports from the BulgarianMilitary portal highlighted the addition of Zubilo to the Russian forces engaged in Ukraine. According to the site, Zubilo doesn't fit the mold of traditional military vehicles. It's not a standard armored transporter, but also not quite an advanced robot capable of full autonomy. It appears to occupy a unique space between these two categories.

Zubilo in Ukraine - Russia's new vehicle

From what we know, the standard version of Zubilo comes equipped with a 350 hp engine, enabling it to reach speeds up to 62 mph. Despite weighing around 35,274 pounds, it can maneuver over certain terrain obstacles, including 30-degree slopes. Its frontal armor is reportedly strong enough to withstand 30 mm caliber gunfire.

Zubilo is also designed to carry approximately 6,614 pounds of additional cargo. However, the actual capacity may vary depending on the combat module installed. For instance, there are plans to equip it with anti-aircraft systems like the ZU-23-2.

Zubilo stirs controversy

Zubilo was significantly impacted during its reveal at the Army 2023 trade show. Łukasz Michalik, a journalist from Virtual Poland, highlighted a critical concern regarding the vehicle's unmanned design - its apparent lack of sensors. Zubilo seemed to offer limited combat utility without cameras or optoelectronic heads, potentially forcing the remote operator to manage a vehicle with imprecise control.

The extent to which Russian engineers have fine-tuned this technology over the past year remains unclear. Nevertheless, there's substantial optimism surrounding Zubilo, with some even envisioning it as a "docking station" for drones. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has been a harsh reality check for many Russian military claims, and only time will reveal the true effectiveness of Zubilo in combat scenarios.
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