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Estonian-made MILREM THeMIS UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle in service with 11 countries

According to the annual report 2020 of the Estonian Defence Forces, the THeMIS UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) designed and manufactured by the Estonian company MILREM is now in service with 11 countries including seven NATO members.
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Milrem Robotics THeMIS tracked UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In September 2020, the Estonian Center for Defense Investment signed an agreement to jointly procure seven THeMIS UGVs (Unmanned Ground Vehicles) together with the Netherlands. Three of the seven UGVS entered service with the Estonian Defence Forces and four in the 13th Brigade of the Dutch army.

In addition to Estonia and the Netherlands, nine other countries have acquired the THeMIS UGV, 7 of which are members of NATO including Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Germany, the UK, and the US. The Estonian company MILREM plans to increase the number of users of the THeMIS in the coming years, and also to market the project iMUGS, or Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System that was funded by the European Commission last year.

The iMUGS project has a budget of $32.6 million for the development of a standard European UGV solution based on the THeMIS. The goals of this project and the requirements of the technical solution have been agreed upon by seven European Union Member States, including Estonia, as the project leader, as well as Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, and Spain. In addition to Milrem Robotics, other European defense industry as Safran Electronics & Defense, Nexter Systems, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, and Dhiel Defense are also participating in the project.

The European market for unmanned ground vehicles will grow by more than €1 billion over the next 10 to 15 years. European countries need to acquire thousands of these types of combat vehicles during this period.

Estonian made MILREM THeMIS UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle in service with 11 countries 925 002
Estonian infantry units are operating Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGV Unmanned Ground Vehicle in Mali. (Picture source: Milrem Robotics)

Operationally proven during several exercises, experiments, and the anti-insurgency mission Operation Barkhane in Mali – the THeMIS is a multi-role unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) intended to reduce the number of troops on the battlefield. THeMIS’ open architecture 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 is available in different configurations as Cargo, Mortar Carrier, CASEVAC (Casualty evacuation), and weapon-mounted station. The THeMIS is based on tracked chassis offering high mobility in all-terrain conditions. It has a length of 2.4 m, a width of 2,0 m, and a height of 1.15 m. The UGV has a weight of 1,630 kg and can carry a maximum payload of 1,200 kg.

The THeMIS can be remotely controlled by a single operator thanks to a command and control station allowing the operator to receive real-time sensor data from the UGV and to transmit command data to the vehicle through a tactical data link.

Type X unmanned IFV Milrem Robotics with CPWS II turret John Cocklerill Estonia Belgium IDEX 2021 925 001
The Milrem Robotics Type X is a new tracked unmanned IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) that can be fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with an automatic cannon of up to 50mm caliber. (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The THeMIS is used as a support vehicle for dismounted troops, but Milrem Robotics has also developed the Type-X, a new unmanned IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) designed to support armored mechanized units based on the THeMIS tracked chassis.

The Type-X unmanned IFV was unveiled in February 2021 during IDEX, an International Land Defense Exhibition that was held in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates from 21 to 25 February 2021. The UGV can be fitted with a remotely controlled weapon station armed with an automatic cannon up to 50 mm caliber.

At IDEX 2021, the Type-X was fitted with a CPWS II weapon station designed and manufactured by the Belgian company John Cockerill. This turret can be armed with an M242 25mm x 137mm Bushmaster cannon or the 230LF, 30mm x 113mm cannon. The vehicle’s maximum speed is 80 km/h on paved roads and 50 km/h off-road. The low weight of 12 tons of the Type-X and its high power with efficient power management provide a superior terrain capability.

With a 30mm turret, a single Type-X can be easily transported by military tactical transport aircraft like the American C-130 or the Embraer KC-390 and can be dropped on the battlefield by parachute. The new A-400 transport aircraft can carry two Type-X IFVs while the American C-5 is able to transport five unmanned IFVs.

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