Russian Soldiers
Russian troops stood after a training exercise in the village of Nikinci, Serbia, west of Belgrade, Nov. 14, 2014. Reuters

Russia’s futuristic Ratnik-2 infantry combat gear will feature a “friend-or-foe” sensor that will allow the country’s soldiers to rapidly distinguish allies from enemies, according to a report. The development is one of several technological advancements Russian officials have touted in recent months as part of the Kremlin’s ongoing bid to modernize its armed forces.

The “friend-or-foe” system will likely operate via sensors placed in Russian soldiers’ uniforms, Russian outlet TASS reported. Soldiers will use a device to detect which uniforms on a battlefield possess a “friendly” signal as a means to distinguish them from enemy combatants. Russian officials have begun testing the device and plan to implement it “as soon as there are stable results,” said Dmitry Semizorov, general director of Russia’s Central Research Institute of Precision Machinebuilding.

“There is an ordinary electronic friend-or-foe system: you direct certain instruments at it and receive a response. And there is a system using light-reflecting elements and colored signs that are visible only to devices operating within a certain part of the spectrum,” Semizorov told TASS.

Russia’s armed forces will reportedly receive as many as 50,000 Ratnik suits by June 2016, with annual production eventually expected to approach 70,000 suits. Semizorov said research was underway to make the Ratnik suit lighter and to equip it with more offensive capability. The gear also possesses aiming, navigation and target-finding systems, TASS noted.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly expressed plans to modernize Russia’s military over the next several years, despite concern among European Union and NATO nations over a noticeable uptick in the nation’s military activity. Russia unveiled its next-generation Armata T-14 tank last month at a Victory Day parade in Moscow to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Earlier this week, Russian military officials announced the creation of a “microwave gun” capable of disabling enemy drones and warheads within a six-mile radius.