Under the aegis of the European Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP), a consortium of several large defence, communications and cyber security companies, in addition to medium-sized enterprises from the high-tech sector have been awarded a contract to develop an integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS). At a total cost of €32.6m, the contract is being funded with €30.6m euros from the EDIDP with the project managed by Estonia. The technical requirements have been established in agreement with Finland, Latvia, Germany, Belgium, France and Spain, while the countries plan to finance the remaining €2m of the project budget.
This modular and scaleable architecture for hybrid manned and unmanned systems is being developed under the leadership of Milrem Robotics, which is intended to become the basis for standardising a Europe-wide ecosystem for air and ground platforms, command, control and communication equipment, sensors, payloads and algorithms. The prototype system will use the THeMIS UGV from Milrem Robotics – equipped with a specific list of payloads.
The outcome of the project will be demonstrated during military exercises of the participating Member States or on separate test sites under operational conditions and relevant climate conditions. During the project, operational know-how will be gathered and concepts for the combined use of manned and unmanned means will be developed, taking into account the ethical aspects applicable to robotics, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems. State-of-the-art virtual and engineering simulation environments will also be established.
iMUGS will be a cooperation between 14 companies drawn from across Europe:
- Project Coordinator Milrem Robotics (Estonia)
- GT Cyber Technologies (Estonia)
- Safran Electronics & Defense (France)
- NEXTER Systems (France)
- Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (Germany)
- Diehl Defence (Germany)
- Bittium Wireless (Finland)
- Insta DefSec (Finland)
- (Un)Manned (Belgium)
- dotOcean (Belgium)
- Latvijas Mobilais Telefons (Latvia)
- GMV Aerospace and Defence (Spain)
- The Estonian Military Academy
- Royal Military Academy of Belgium.