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The Estonian Defence Investment Centre will procure seven Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), four of which will be delivered to the Netherlands and three to Estonia. The latter’s order will be fulfilled in October 2020 though the Netherlands will not receive its UGVs for several months.

THeMIS is a modular UGV with diesel-electric hybrid drive that can be configured for:

  • transport tasks
  • deploying remote-controlled weapon stations up to 30mm
  • EOD operations
  • reconnaissance.

With its multi-mission capability, a wide range of support for dismounted troops can be made available quickly. With a dead weight of 1,630 kg, THeMIS can carry a payload of up to 1,200 kg and is designed for high off-road mobility. The batteries (optionally lead or Li-Ion), which are fed from the diesel engine via a generator, allow operation for up to 15 hours, with a maximum speed is 20 km/h and a radio remote control extending over 1.5 km.

THeMIS UGV Experience

Manufacturer MilRem Robotics offers mission-specific sensor, camera and mechanical equipment for standard configurations. As a system integrator – as in the Estonia/Netherlands contract – Milrem Robotics will not only supply the vehicles but also take care of the entire integration of third-party technologies, including weapon systems, into the UGVs supplied. The Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) deployed THeMIS to Mali for 12 months during Operation BARKHANE while various EDF units have gained first-hand experience with the UGV during several military exercises.

The Netherlands has been testing two THeMIS units in the “Robotica en Autonome Systeme cel.” of the 13th Light Brigade. Experience was gained in Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands and during a live fire exercise in Austria. With the further UGVs, concepts for increasing combat strength and protecting soldiers are to be further developed.

THeMIS has so far been delivered to seven NATO and two other countries. Numerous renowned system houses have implemented combat and reconnaissance solutions with the UGV. For autonomous operation, the Intelligent Functions Integration Kit is available, which enables the THeMIS, but also other UGVs, to perform autonomous functions such as waypoint navigation and follow-me.

European Cooperation

Within the integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) research programme which forms part of the European Defence Industrial Development Programme (EDIDP) 2019 under the European Commission, MilRem Robotics leads a consortium of 14 companies from six countries including Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Diehl Defence.

Gerhard Heiming