Milrem’s First-of-its-kind Autonomous Ground Vehicle Successfully Passes First Set of Military Tests26 May 2016 by Gwyn Winfield 0
Estonian-based developer of defence equipment Milrem announces that its UGV passed rigorous tests by the Defence Forces Logistics Battalion during Spring Storm (Kevadtorm), a simulated battlefield event. Soldiers tested the Milrem vehicle for three days, using it mainly for transporting equipment and materials; something that is typically done manually or with bigger vehicles.
“Previously developed unmanned vehicles only performed specific tasks,” stated Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem. “However, this ground vehicle, THeMIS, can be customized to carry out different operations, leveraging its unique modular design and robust components,” he added.
The operational reliability of THeMIS was put to the test where the Battalion is stationed with tasks typically performed by hand or using bigger vehicles. Supplies such as equipment, water, firewood, fuel or ammunition, previously needing to be transported manually, may now be distributed using this highly rigorous, remote-controlled, unmanned system that can travel through tough terrain, be highly adaptable, and thus, ease the burden of soldiers in the field.
“Ultimately, our goal is to leverage the technologies we have access to today to make a soldier’s life easier by carrying ammunition, firewood, fuel, water and other supplies,” notes Corporal Stern Ilves, a conscript on the Logistics Battalion, describing how the THeMIS can increase the manoeuvre capability.
With the sector for unmanned ground vehicles slated to grow exponentially, Milrem cites the US Army initiative Squad Maneuver Equipment Transport (SMET) which partners the Army with industry to develop requirements and capabilities for enabling robots to haul a squad of soldier gear for a 72-hour patrol. THeMIS will be used in environments where sending in a person would be dangerous—in war or crisis hotspots for example—or in working environments that are difficult for a human to reach. Compared to other unmanned solutions, the benefit of THeMIS is modularity. All devices have been installed inside the tracks, leaving the middle platform free for different superstructures.
Milrem has presented the vehicle at different exhibitions in London, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi. The results of the development of Estonia’s defence industry also impressed experts from the international defence sector and received considerable coverage in media. In June, Milrem will present two different product solutions at the Eurosatory exhibition, in Paris. Weaponized THeMIS will participate in the dynamic show area and at the Estonian national stand will be presented a vehicle equipped with an explosives detection system. The commercial product family utilizing this unmanned vehicle technology will also be introduced in Los Angeles. Development of Milrem’s THeMIS takes place in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Forces of Estonia. Milrem also cooperates with several Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian universities and companies.