LKZ PPR-24 “Soldat” (UEDF Reporting Name: Rabbit) Infantry Support Robot
by Tim Wing
The PPR-24 Soldat (Soldier) Infantry Support Robot (Пехота Поддержка Робот, Pekhota Podderzhka Robot), UEDF reporting name “Rabbit”, was designed by the Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) to replace the T99 Surgut Main Battle Robot, as well as the various 1st Robotech War era Destroids which were still in use in the early twenties. The Soldat was designed from the outset to be air mobile. With four thrusters in its legs and a parachute, the Soldat could be air-dropped with its pilot inside. Later versions sacrificed this ability in favor of heavier armor.
- Role: One person, Airborne Infantry Support Robot
- Designer: Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ)
- Manufacturers: Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ), Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau
- Weight: 18,000 kg
- Primary Armament: PE/G-6 Plasma Ejector/Generator
- Introduced: 2024
- Retired: 2031
- Status: retired
- Primary user: Eastern Block Soviet Independent States
- Number Built: 4,200
- Unit Cost: $11 Million (cost in adjusted 2070 International Credits.)
The Leningrad Kirov Plant (LKZ) received a production order in 2020 for a weapon system to replace the T99 Surgut Main Battle Robot. This new robot was to be a light infantry support robot, filling a different role than that of the modified Zentraedi battle pods which made up the bulk of Soviet forces. The Soldat was significant in that it was the EBSIS’s first truly indigenous design, the some analysts speculated at the time that it was merely plus-size copy of the DPA-2 Kraken Dive Powered Armor. This mistake was due largely to the robot’s external power cables, which resembled the oxygen tubes of the Kraken.
From the outset the Soldat was designed to be airmobile. Up to three can be pallet loaded for air drop on an Il-76 Candid or more on larger transports. This allowed the Soldat to fill a very important niche with the Soviet Army’s Airborne Infantry which could not be filled by the heavy and bulky Battle Pod derivatives. The Soldat proved itself to be such a capable design that it soon was being used to equip conventional units in the Soviet Army, as well as the armies of other EBSIS member states. The Soldat was also the only Soviet made robot to be exported to non-EBSIS nations, though these in the best Soviet tradition were stripped down “Export” models.
The PPR-24 Soldat was the first mecha to mount the now infamous Plasma Generator. This weapon derived its power by skimming excess plasma from the KR-T66 Protoculture-cell energizer and storing it in a magnetic bottle located in the robot’s chest. The impressive part about this weapon was the designer’s ability to solve the problem of blooming (dissipation into the surrounding environment) at as little as one meter, which had been the tradition drawback to such a weapon. That being said, the Plasma Generator remained a short range weapon, with effectiveness limited to 600 meters.
First entering service in 2025 (despite the -24 designation) the PPR-24 was used to replace the T99 Surgut in Soviet Army Airborne Infantry units. The 103rd Guards Airborne Division, located in Belarus. The 103rd fell under the KGB Border Troops, which made sense given the sensitivity of the weapons program. It was used in both traditional combined arms Airborne Rifle Regiments (ARR), where it was mixed in with other conventional airborne tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, as well as in robot pure Robot Infantry Companies, which assigned at a rate of one per ARR. By 2027 it was equipping all airborne units.
The Soldat soon proved itself in conflicts with dissident Zentraedi groups in Africa and East Asia. Due to its success, it went into wide scale production. Heavier armored, non-air drop capable versions were soon equipping units through the EBSIS member state armies. A second production line was opened by the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau in Ukraine. This plant was responsible for the Heavy versions used to equip conventional land units.
During the failed “Liberation of Palestine” war of 2027, the PPR-24 acquitted itself well against UEDF Battloids, such as the MBR-13 Salamander. The Soldat’s 57mm AKG-047 gun pod had little trouble defeating the battloid’s light armor. The Soldat’s PE/G-6 Plasma Ejector/Generator also proved itself a holy terror to light armored vehicles and troops in the open. Of course, like its UEDF Battloid contemporaries, the Soldat fared poorly when faced with conventional tanks. This of course was to be expected, but the experience influence future designs such as the BRDR-4 Destroyer (???????????) Combat Reconnaissance Patrol Robot.
In 2028, the PPR-24M export version went into production at the LKZ plant. The majority went to communist governments in Africa, such as Mozambique, Ethiopia and Somalia. Additionally, the armies of Grenada and Nicaragua purchased examples. The Russians rather racistly referred to these examples as “Monkey Soldiers”, in reference to perhaps the model’s simplified specifications, but more likely as a derisive reference to their African operators. Regardless, the PPR-24 was basically a PPR-24 without the jump jets, composite armor and advance fire control system. Some were fitted with reactive armor, similar to that of the heavy Soldats.
During the Second Global Civil War, the PPR-24 was one of the first weapon systems to see combat, when they were air dropped into the radioactive remains of Passau. With a force of composed of Soldats, airborne tanks and airborne infantry working as anti-tank teams; the Soviet Army was able to secure the breach point for the main invasion into West Germany. Had the Invid Invasion not put an end to the hostilities three days later, there is little doubt that the humble PPR-24 would have been one of the key contributors to the defeat of the UEG in Western Europe.
Though most were destroyed in the initial invasion, several PPR-24Ms are reported to have seen action against the Invid in the hands of rebels in Africa and South America. In this environment, their typical Russian robustness and simplicity really became an asset, as did their non-ammunition dependent plasma ejectors. Still, the occupation took its toll on the humble, but brave Soldat, and to this day only a handful are known to exist.
Armor and Protection
The PPR-24 and all of its derivatives, save the PPR-24M, were protected by a composite armor made up of titanium, plastics and recycled “space metal” from Zentraedi mecha. The plastic portions served as an energy absorbing deformation area on the backside of the armor panels. This armor was attached to the space metal and titanium frame of the robot itself. This armor was very light in weight, which helped keep the overall weight of the airborne versions down to just over 19 metric tons at full combat load. This armor was sufficient to stop all small arms and heavy infantry weapons fire, provided good resistance to light mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Zentraedi 22.3mm HE autocannon round, but offered poor resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie’s 55mm APFSDS round.
The PPR-24T and PT were given additional armor in the form of the Kontakt-12 5th generation explosive reactive armor (ERA). This armor was claimed to be able to defeat the M-21’s 120mm FSDS-TU (Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot – Tungsten) rounds, though it was shown in the Palestine Conflict that they could not defeat DU (Depleted Uranium) sabots. The armor does stop all small arms, heavy infantry weapons fire, and light mecha-mounted weaponry, and provided good resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie’s 55mm APFSDS round.
All variants, except the M as always, are equipped with the Elektromashina Shtora-2020. The Shtora, Russian for Curtain, systems processed data from the PPR-24’s IR sensors and laser warning receivers to detect and automatically engage ATGMs (anti-tank guided missiles). The system would automatically fire the PE/G-6 Plasma Ejector to prosecute incoming ATGMs, with a claimed 90% success rate. Granted, this was from the frontal arc, as the system provided no protection to the rear.
All variants with the exception of, you guessed it, the PPR-24M provided full NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protection via a filter and overpressure environment. Filters generally need to be changed every two days in a chemical environment, and up to twice daily in a nuclear environment.
The PPR-24’s primary weapon is the PE/G-6 Plasma Ejector/Generator. This weapon works by skimming excess plasma from the KR-T66 Protoculture-cell energizer and storing it in a magnetic bottle located in the robot’s chest. When fired, the head mounted aperture releases a self-sustaining globe at a rate of 300 globes per minute. The weapons firing rate is constrained by aperture heat soak and the fact that the magnetic bottle can only scavenge enough plasma for approximately 50 globes every minute, depending on energizer load. As such, the weapons sustained rate of fire is around 17 three globe pulses per minute. In a rapid fire configuration, the weapon can fire the bottles complete stored energy reserve of 150 three globe pulses over the course of two minutes. Each pulse has a combined energy of 9 MJ, at a range of up to 600 meters. After 600 meters, the globe ceases to self-sustain and blooms.
The PPR-24’s secondary armament was Omsk Works’ excellent AKG-047 three-barreled 57mm gun pod. The AKG-047 was based on the AK-747-3, Omsk Works’ naval anti-aircraft cannon. The AKG-047 had a fixed rate of fire of 900 rounds per minute. The drum magazine at the rear of the pod carried 200 rounds. Though this drum could be changed in the field by the robot’s pilot without leaving the cockpit, it was a fiddly process requiring a great deal of fine control input. The AKG-47’s round was the same as that used by the AZP S-60 anti-aircraft cannon from 1950 onwards. Though an old design, its characteristics were comparable to that the GU-11’s 55mm round.
Specific rounds for the AKG-047 included APCBC-HE-T (Anti-tank round with sharp penetrator, blunt cap and an aerodynamic cover with tracer) and a delayed-action base fuze. Penetration was 96 mm rolled homogenous armor (RHA) at 1000 m range or 106mm at 500m. Also used was the HE-T High Explosive with tracer) impact-fuzed fragmentation shell for anti-aircraft use. This round had a nose fuze with self-destruct function and a tracer.
The PPR-24PT carried seven KBP Instrument Design Bureau Truba Anti-Tank Guided Missiles in a shoulder mounted launcher. The 9M411A, B and G variants used a dual HEAT warhead; the C and E variants had a larger single HEAT warhead; the D variant had an expanding rod warhead for use against aircraft and the F variant had a fragmentation warhead for use against troops in the open. The top right pod of the missile launcher housed the weapon system’s laser designator.
The PPR-24’s fire control system was the 1B64 which included 1V578 ballistic computer, two-axis laser gyroscope stabilizer for the AKG-047 Gun Pod, daylight and Enhanced Thermal/Infrared Imaging sight stabilised in two axes and a laser rangefinder. This system permitted firing both weapons on the move. However, due to the limited range of motion for the head, the plasma ejector suffered from decreased accuracy when moving.
All variants except the early PPR-24s and all PPR-24Ms had a laser warning receiver. This sensor detected when an enemy weapon system was “lasing” the Soldat in order to get a firing solution. This system was later tied into the Elektromashina Shtora-2020, which allowed the Soldat to automatically engage incoming ATGMs.
The PPR-24PT also had an Aero Vodochody built short range battle field radar system mounted on top of the rocket launcher. This is a very simple system with a range of less the three kilometers. It still proved itself to be a worthwhile investment, when fighting in inclement weather. It also was linked with the Shtora-2020, improving its effectiveness… at least in the frontal arc.
The PPR-24’s primary power source was an OKB Gidropress KR-T66 Protoculture-cell energizer. This was a reverse engineered version of the VF-1’s RRL-1 Miniaturized Protoculture-cell energizer. Though roughly the same size as the RRL-1, it did suffer some inefficiency and produced only 500MW total power from 18 Standard Protoculture Canisters.
The first PPR-24 was given airborne ability and modest jump capability by its four Turmansky R-PSRP-1 plasma shock expansion thrusters located in the lower legs. These thrusters were actually based heavily on the Regult Battle Pod’s Varredoush type 9 thrusters found in that mecha’s calf. These thrusters provided a modest 4200 kg of thrust each. This was just enough to, when combined with mechanical jumping motion, allow a jump of 30 to 40 meters.
Variants and Upgrades
PPR-24 – Base line airborne infantry support robot, as used by Airborne Forces from 2025 on. This and the PPR-24K were the only versions to by equipped with jump jets.
PPR-24K – Command variant of the PPR-24, with additional communications equipment. It is speculated that the K had increased pilot protection.
PPR-24T – Heavy infantry support robot, as used by all other conventional forces starting in 2027. This version was not air droppable, and came equipped with reactive armor and active protection systems.
PPR-24TK – Command variant of the PPR-24T.
PPR-24M – Monkey Soldier or export variant of the PPR-24. It had less armor protection and simplified electronic suite. Though not as combat effective as its PPR-24 brother, it did have the advantage of being more maintainable in austere environments.
PPR-24PT – Advanced Heavy infantry support robot version of the Soldat, though it would have been more accurate to call it a Main Battle Robot. In addition to an improved fire control system, it also mounted anti-tank missiles. This version entered production in 2030. No K variant was built, due to the types already impressive communications suite.
Eastern Block Soviet Independent States
- Soviet Army
- Soviet Navy (Naval Infantry Corps)
- Polish People’s Army
- National People’s Army (NPA) of the German Democratic Republic (GDR)
- Bulgarian People’s Army
- Czechoslovak People’s Army (CSLA)
- Hungarian People’s Army
- Albanian People’s Army
- Romanian PEople’s Army
- Total Height: 10.7 m
- Total Depth: 2.7 m
- Total Breadth: 4.6 m
- Weight: 18.0 metric tons (PPR-24), 22.2 metric tons (PPR-24PT)
- Combat Weight: 19.1 metric tons (PPR-24), 23.8 metric tons (PPR-24PT)
- Powerplant: 1 x OKB Gidropress KR-T66 Protoculture-cell energizer
- Fuel Capacity: 18 x standard canisters of Protoculture.
- Engines: 4 x Turmansky R-PSRP-1 plasma shock expansion thrusters providing a combined 16,800 kg of thrust for a total burn of three seconds.
- Running speed: 80 kph
- Jumping range: 30 meter
- Protoculture supply: (general supply) 700 hours operational use.
- 1 x PE/G-6 Plasma Ejector/Generator, with a sustained rate of fire of 17 9 MJ globe pulses per minute at a range of 600 meters.
- 1 x Omsk Works AKG-047 three-barreled 57mm gun pod, firing 900 rounds per minute, 200 round capacity.
- 7 x short range Truba Anti-Tank Guided Missiles, armed with HEAT, dual HEAT, fragmentation or expanding rod warheads.
- 1B64 Fire Control System
- 1V578 ballistic computer with two-axis laser gyroscope stabilizer
- Daylight and Enhanced Thermal/Infrared Imaging sight
- Laser rangefinder
(PPR-24T, PT and refit PPR-24s)
- Laser warning receiver
- Elektromashina Shtora-2020 active ATGM defense suite
- Aero Vodochody CZ/R13 short range battle field radar system
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Tim Wing
Sources: Book Four: Southern Cross (September 1987), by Kevin Siembieda
Content by Tim Wing
Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing