Milrem Robotics-led consortium awarded EUR 30,6 Mn by European Commission to develop European standardized unmanned ground system
A consortium led by Milrem Robotics and composed of several major defence, communication and cybersecurity companies and high technology SMEs was awarded 30,6 MEUR from the European Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) to develop a European standardized unmanned ground system.
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THeMIS UGV used by the international force deployed in the Sahel region to fight terrorist groups (Picture source: Milrem Robotics)
During the project, modular and scalable architecture for hybrid manned-unmanned systems will be developed to standardize a European wide ecosystem for aerial and ground platforms, command, control and communication equipment, sensors, payloads, and algorithms. The prototype system will utilize an existing unmanned ground vehicle – Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS – and a specific list of payloads. The outcome of the project will be demonstrated in operational environments and relevant climatic conditions as part of participating member states' military exercises or at separate testing grounds.
The total cost of the project, titled iMUGS (integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System), is 32,6 million euros, of which 30,6 million will be provided by the European Commission. “Robotic and autonomous systems will tremendously enhance defence and military capabilities in the coming years all around the world. iMUGS is an excellent example of how Europe can utilize and develop high-end technologies as a joint effort while avoiding scattering activities and resources,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics. “It is nice to see, that the European Defence Fund is efficiently consolidating the requirements of EU member states and the European industry’s capabilities to increase defence capabilities and strategic autonomy. The European industry is determined and ready to provide efficient and deployable technologies already over the next three years in the course of this project,” Väärsi added.
The project is led by Estonia and its technical requirements have also been agreed with Finland, Latvia, Germany, Belgium, France, and Spain who are planning on financing the remaining 2 MEUR of the project's budget. During the project, operational know-how will be gathered and concepts for the combined engagement of manned and unmanned assets developed, while considering the ethical aspects applicable to robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous systems. State-of-the-art virtual and constructive simulation environments will also be set up.
iMUGS will be a cooperation between 14 parties: Milrem Robotics (project coordinator), GT Cyber Technologies, Safran Electronics & Defense, NEXTER Systems, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Diehl Defence, Bittium Wireless, Insta DefSec, (Un)Manned, dotOcean, Latvijas Mobilais Telefons, GMV Aerospace and Defence, the Estonian Military Academy and Royal Military Academy of Belgium.
The objectives of the EDIDP programme are to contribute to the strategic autonomy of the European Union and to strengthen the cooperation between Member States. The priorities include enabling high-end operations of military forces with special focus on intelligence and secured communications and cyber. Actions include the development of next-generation ground combat capabilities and solutions in Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and cyber technologies.