Milrem Robotics wins THeMIS UGV deal from Japan

Edge Group subsidiary Milrem Robotics has been awarded a contract to deliver three THeMIS tracked unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF), the company announced on 16 April.

Milrem Robotics noted that the three THeMIS UGVs will be configured for various tasks, including cargo transportation and intelligence gathering.

The UGVs will also be equipped with Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Kit (MIFIK), which features autonomous operation capabilities to reduce the cognitive burden on operators and enables the vehicles to execute on- and off-road operations independently.

“The goal of the Ground Self-Defense Forces is to fundamentally strengthen its defence capabilities with unmanned assets in order to gain asymmetric superiority while limiting human losses. A task to which UGVs are uniquely qualified,” said Milrem Robotics CEO Kuldar Väärsi.

“We are honoured that the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces has selected us to support them in increasing the combat effectiveness of their ground forces through advanced robotics and achieving their capability goals,” added Väärsi.

Milrem Robotics noted that the THeMIS UGVs were selected by the Japan Ministry of Defense (JMOD) under the ministry’s newly introduced Rapid Acquisition Program.

The THeMIS UGV is a field-proven platform having been involved in numerous military exercises and field trials with various countries around the world. The baseline vehicle comprises two tracked, mechanised pods – which also house its batteries and diesel generator – integrated via a centrally mounted bay, which can accommodate payloads that can be swapped to suit mission requirements.

Earlier models of the THeMIS were powered by a Kubota diesel generator and lead-acid batteries, although more recent vehicles are now equipped with a more powered Caterpillar engine with lithium-ion batteries.

When configured for combat operations, THeMIS UGVs can provide direct fire support for manoeuvre forces and act as a force multiplier for dismounted troops, enabling them to observe and engage adversaries at standoff distances. The type has also been seen at defence exhibitions and field trials with a wide variety of weapons, including heavy machine guns, 40 mm automatic grenade launchers, and anti-tank guided missiles.

Milrem Robotics’ products have been sold to 16 countries, eight of which are NATO members: Estonia, the Netherlands, Norway, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

by Jr Ng