The leading European robotics and autonomous systems developer, Milrem Robotics, and the German defence company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) have signed a contract to deliver 14 THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) to Ukraine.
Of the 14 vehicles, seven will be configured for CASualty EVACuation (CASEVAC) and are scheduled to be delivered by the end of this year. The other seven, to be delivered in the second quarter of 2023, will be configured for route clearance with payloads from the French defence manufacturer CNIM Systèmes Industriels.
The effort is being funded by the German Ministry of Defence.
«Casualty evacuation and route clearance are two labour-intensive activities that require the engagement of several people who remain in constant threat of enemy fire. Automating these tasks with unmanned vehicles alleviates that danger and allows more soldiers to stay in a safe area or be tasked for more important activities», explained Captain (res) Jüri Pajuste, Defence R&D Director at Milrem Robotics.
Milrem Robotics delivered one CASEVAC THeMIS to a Ukrainian charitable organization earlier this year that has proven to be a valuable asset.
«The deployment of the THEMIS UGV to Ukraine means that the Ukrainian forces can increase the safety of their soldiers and let the UGVs handle tasks that are an immediate threat to humans. That is the ultimate purpose of robotic systems. Milrem Robotics is proud to be able to contribute to Ukraine’s fight against the aggressor», said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.
«This important project gives evidence of our common ability to provide advanced technology to Ukraine. We are determined to support Ukraine with protective and lifesaving equipment. The fast delivery of 14 THeMIS UGVs proves that KMW and Milrem are partners you can rely on», said Ralf Ketzel, CEO of KMW.
THeMIS is a multi-mission unmanned ground vehicle with an open architecture that enables it to be rapidly configured from having a transport function to being weaponized, performing ordnance disposal or supporting intelligence operations according to the nature of the mission.
The THeMIS UGV is already part of different programs in 16 countries, including eight NATO members: Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US.
October 6, 2020, UVision Air Ltd. – a global leader in Loitering Munitions Systems of all sizes for a variety of missions, and Milrem Robotics – a world renowned manufacturer of advanced unmanned ground vehicles and robotic warfare solutions, have recently joined forces. The joint solution – two of Milrem Robotics’ Robotic Combat Vehicles (commonly known as Unmanned Ground Vehicles, UGV´s) which are now mounted with Loitering Munition Multi-Canister Launcher, is a new step in the deployment of combat unmanned remotely operated systems.
The new operational concept, presented by the two companies, is designed to offer frontline forces with a new independent ability to locate, track and accurately eliminate heavily armored targets from large distances in challenging battlefield conditions, including GPS denied environment and communication jamming, without the need for a headquarters’ support. It provides small light forces with advanced ISR capabilities combined with highly accurate long-range heavy fire power that were achieved until now only with complex cooperation between several units and echelons.
The Estonian-based Milrem Robotics, which only four months ago announced the integration of the Cockerill Protected Weapons Station Generation II (CPWS II) on to its newly developed Type-X Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV), again shows its innovation, teaming with the Israeli company UVision, and installing a Multi Canister Launcher for UVision’s Lethal Loitering Munition Systems (LMs) on the RCV. The Launcher can be equipped with two of UVision’s already operational Loitering Munition Systems: The Hero-120, with its anti-tank warhead and up to one hour of flight time, and the Hero-400EC, capable of destroying fortified targets, with up to two operational hours. Milrem’s Type-X will also be equipped with a 40 km/25 miles range communication antenna, located on a telescopic rising mast, improving the operator’s control of the system.
The second vehicle, Milrem robotics’ UGV flagship, THeMIS, is designed for operation by dismounted infantry and Special Forces. Able to carry up to six of UVision’s Loitering Munition systems, it will provide the forces with long-range ISR and firepower combination that will now be available to them for the first time. The THeMIS recently completed a full 12-month deployment to an international military operation in Mali, and has already been delivered to a several NATO countries (including Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and USA).
«As a leading innovative company that takes pride in advanced and in-depth military understanding, UVision has long been a provider of new operational solutions», says Major General (res) Avi Mizrachi, UVision’s CEO. «With a highly experienced team, all – with military background, and many with actual combat experience, we know first-hand the challenges that are facing operational forces in battle conditions today, and we are committed to provide advanced, yet user-friendly and affordable solutions that meet those challenges. Teaming up with Milrem Robotics, to provide new operational concepts based on the advantages of both companies’ cutting-edge solutions, is another milestone in our unprecedented developments».
Kuldar Väärsi, Milrem Robotics CEO adds «bringing disruptive technologies to the battlefield and enhancing our warfighters’ safety and capabilities are the driving force for Milrem Robotics. Our robotic platforms are deployed by different nations and it is our duty to propose new ways on how unmanned systems can benefit to capability building».
UVision’s Hero-120 and Hero-400EC
Modular, customizable loitering weapon systems that can be fitted with a range of powerful multi-purpose warheads and variety of payloads. These versatile, precision, multi-operational systems, with a unique aerodynamic structure, can carry out pinpoint lethal strikes against mid-range hard targets ‒ vehicles, tanks, concrete fortifications and personnel ‒ in populated urban areas or remote locations with minimal collateral damage. Their extended endurance of over an hour (Hero-120), and up to 2 Hours (Hero-400EC), and their loitering range of 40 km/25 miles (Hero-120) and up to 150 km/93 miles (Hero-400), allow these systems to be independently operated by frontline forces, precisely striking time-sensitive targets from a wide variety of angles. Featuring low acoustic and low visual and thermal signatures, and fully gimbaled, stabilized day/night tracking, both systems combine real-time intelligence with high-precision attack to allow a whole new range of operational possibilities. Advanced and versatile, these systems are highly affordable and cost-effective due to their recoverable option, using a parachute, while securing the warhead. The Hero-120 was recently purchased by several NATO military forces. The Hero-400EC was already operationally demonstrated and is currently in evaluation stages by several key military forces.
Milrem Robotics Type-X and THeMIS
The Type-X RCV is a Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) with tactical characteristics of a modern Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The RCV can be equipped with a main armament of 30 up to 50 mm automatic cannon. It is a rapidly deployable and dependable unit, able to autonomously navigate the battlefield and perform tasks, keeping the operator in the loop with real-time Situational Awareness.
The Type-X concept is based on open architecture that enables it to be integrated with various payloads. The vehicle is designed for operations encompassing the entire spectrum of conflict from permissive to denied environments, fighting effectively in both conventional and non-conventional conflicts.
The THeMIS is the first hybrid fully modular unmanned ground vehicle in the world. The vehicle is intended to provide support for dismounted troops by serving as a transport platform, remote weapon station, IED detection and disposal unit, and much more. The vehicle’s open architecture gives it the multi-missions capability much needed on the modern battlefield.
In June this year, KONGSBERG proved their innovative capabilities by firing a remotely controlled Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin missile from a PROTECTOR Remote Weapon Station on an Unmanned Ground Vehicle. The event took place at Redstone Test Center, Alabama, USA.
A TITAN Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), featuring QinetiQ UGV control technology on a Milrem Robotics Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) mobility platform was used in the demonstration. Javelin and .50 caliber/12.7-mm machine gun were fired, remotely and wireless, from a PROTECTOR Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS). Video from the missile and RWS, as well as control and firing signals was transferred on a secure circuit over radio.
This was also the first combined Javelin and M230LF 30-mm Cannon firing from a single RWS, as the event also featured the Northrup Grumman M230LF (30 mm × 113 mm) cannon. The KONGSBERG LW30 RWS was mounted on an Oshkosh Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV).
This event is nothing short of ground-breaking. The customers have been consistent in their demand for wireless capability and for increased lethality like Anti-Tank Guided Missile Integration. Our ability to integrate our partners’ quality systems into common interfaces was essential to this demonstrations success.
The combination of a wireless and remotely controlled weapon system, integrated on an unmanned vehicle, introduces capabilities that will secure our soldiers mission and safety to an even greater extent, said Pål Bratlie, Executive Vice President Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace AS.
At DSEI 2019, the Milrem Robotics’ 5th generation THeMIS UGV integrated with a PROTECTOR RWS Javelin, will be displayed at the KONGSBERG stand.
Combing unmanned ground vehicles with modern weapon systems will bring disruptive capabilities to the battlefield. Milrem Robotics has experienced this effect already with several Armies using the THeMIS with an integrated heavy machine gun. Adding such a capable antitank missile as the Javelin will significantly increase the disruptive effect, said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.
MBDA has unveiled at DSEI 2019 how the Brimstone precision strike missile can equip Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) to serve as an organic force-multiplier for the tactical commander. This development, utilising the Milrem Robotics Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) UGV, adds to Brimstone’s «One Missile, Multi-Platform» versatility.
Carrying six Brimstone missiles per UGV, the development comes in response to the British Army’s «Prototype Warfare» drive, which includes a renewed need to counter massed armour formations in high-intensity warfare and to «fight differently». Such operational requirements demand long-range, all-weather performance, ability to defeat all-known Defensive Aid Suits (DAS), salvo-firing and moving target capability. Brimstone is uniquely able to meet these challenges.
The THeMIS is a versatile and robust unmanned system with low noise and heat signatures that can negotiate demanding terrains while keeping the operator in a safe distance.
Using digital targeting data provided by the remote operator over standard secure military networks, the system will be capable of engaging line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight targets, with a choice of radar and Semi-Active Laser (SAL) engagement modes.
Andy Allen, MBDA UK Head of Land Domain Sales and Business Development said: «This cassette magazine, with its high weapon loadout, is optimised to counter mass armour. Pairing the combat-proven MBDA Brimstone missile with a flexible and mission deployed UGV such as the Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS provides the tactical commander with the capability to rapidly and remotely deliver high volumes of precision anti-armour effects, importantly in all weathers, against all known DAS and at extended ranges. This land vehicle adds to the Brimstone suite of platforms (fast jet, rotary, RPAS) and underscores its ‘One Missile, Multi-Platform’ versatility».
The modular elevating launcher has a high load-out to provide the assurance of immediate fire support for multiple targets. The integration solution will take advantage of the high off-boresight agility of the Brimstone missile to avoid the complexity of rotating turrets.
General (retd) Riho Terras, President of the Defence Division at Milrem Robotics said: «The THeMIS has proven itself as a reliable and robust vehicle in very difficult conditions, e.g. in Mali during Operation Barkhane. Combining it with the anti-armour capability of MBDA’s Brimstone shows how existing and proven systems can work seamlessly together with novel technology. It is our aim and privilege to work with strong and innovative partners on creating new warfare systems based on the THeMIS».
Integrating Brimstone to THeMIS follows on from previous work to fit the Missile Moyenne Portée (MMP, Medium-Range Missile) missile to the UGV. The two weapons offer complementary solutions for delivering organic/battery-level precision anti-armour effects at medium and extended ranges.
MBDA and Milrem Robotics are showcasing the world’s first anti-tank Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) at IDEX 2019, the main defence industry event in the MENA region. The debut of the system’s advanced concept comes only eight months after Milrem Robotics and MBDA announced the start of feasibility studies of the system.
The joint project integrates the Milrem Robotics THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle with the MBDA IMPACT (Integrated MMP Precision Attack Combat Turret) system fitted with two MMP 5th generation battlefield engagement missiles and a self-defence machine gun. «This combination of two of the most modern technologies in their field is a very good example how robotic warfare systems will bring disruption to the battlefield and make some traditional technologies obsolete», said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. «Our unmanned land combat system under study together with MBDA will be very efficient in keeping our troops safe and significantly increasing the capability to fight main battle tanks as well as any other ground target», Väärsi added.
The land combat warfare system is intended to be remotely operated. Soldiers can deploy it while remaining at a safe distance and using a wireless or a tethered connection. The system will have a low heat and noise signature so it can stay unnoticed until completing its mission.
«Being delivered to the French Army since the end of 2017, the MMP system is now deployed by the French forces in theatre, where it replaces the Milan and Javelin missiles. With fully digitalized functions of observation, targeting, positioning and guidance, the MMP system is perfectly suited for integration on vehicles, including remotely operated ones», said Francis Bordachar, Military Advisor Land Products at MBDA.
The leading European missile systems designer and producer MBDA and unmanned vehicles manufacturer Milrem Robotics will begin developing the world’s first Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) specially designed for anti-tank purposes.
The joint project will feature the IMPACT (Integrated MMP Precision Attack Combat Turret) system from MBDA that will be integrated onto the THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle by Milrem Robotics.
The system will be remotely operated and is in line with the system developers’ main aim of exchanging humans on the battlefield for much more capable robots.
«One of the challenges in urban warfare is keeping anti-tank infantry hidden from the enemy’s surveillance equipment that can very easily detect soldier’s heat signature. The aim of our joint integration project is developing a system that has a low heat signature and most importantly – will keep infantry in a safe distance», explained Brig Gen (res) Alar Laneman, military advisor of Milrem Robotics.
«MMP, the world’s only 5th Generation anti-tank guided weapon, now in service within the French Armed Forces, has been developed for both mounted and dismounted applications and is suitable for unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). With its 4km+ range and its two firing modes – Lock On Before Launch (LOBL) and Lock On After Launch (LOAL) – the MMP gives to THeMIS UGV an unmatched capability to engage a target beyond line of sight. MMP allows, within remote operation, to engage very discreetly battlefield targets at ranges greater than the enemies counter fire, from behind cover and within structures in fighting in built-up areas. The MMP Firing installation deployed on UGV also provides an ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition, & Reconnaissance) capability and, through direct integration with a Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) network, delivers battlefield intelligence out beyond the platoon», added the former Colonel Francis Bordachar, military advisor of MBDA.