Defence innovation and the 4th industrial revolution in Russia

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Russia is pursuing select 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies in a drive to rapidly close the capability gaps with rivals. The transformation of warfare these technologies portend could also make Russia more vulnerable. Joining the ‘technological race’ seems therefore less of a choice than an existential necessity. Constrained by structural problems and lacking the resources of the US and China, however, Russia has so far struggled to leverage its ambitions within the 4IR. Yet it has also shown the ability to experiment with 4IR technologies, including hypersonics and AI, to amplify existing symmetric and asymmetric capabilities, and create interconnected systems that may provide critical advantages.




Zysk, K. (2021). Defence innovation and the 4th industrial revolution in Russia. Journal of Strategic Studies, 44(4), 543–571.

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