UV - Unmanned Vehicles

Eurosatory 2018: Milrem ups the ante with anti-tank missile integration

7th June 2018 - 07:30 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in London

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Milrem Robotics is set to be one of the most represented UGV manufacturers at this year’s Eurosatory defence exhibition in Paris.

Four of the Estonian platforms, known as the THeMIS, will be present in various configurations at the event, including weaponised variants.

The company has also hinted that is working on the integration of antitank and air defence missile systems, one of which it is likely to reveal at the event, Kuldar Väärsi, chairman of the board at Milrem told Shephard.

‘We see antitank missile systems and UGV integration as a game changer,’ said Väärsi. ‘It is very low cost compared to the price of [a main battle tank (MBT)]. It can be basically invisible for an MBT – stationed on its position and put on surveillance mode - the UGV will not emit heat signature nor RF signature. And most importantly it will keep soldiers from harm’s way.

‘Even in the most simplistic way the system is controlled only a couple of km away over optical cables. However, we can foresee much more advanced semi-autonomous systems controlled hundreds or thousands of km away,’ he added.

In addition, Nexter has recently teamed up with Milrem to develop a UGV with a 20mm remote weapon station.

Speaking with Shephard, Roman Le Berre, land turrets sales manager at Nexter, said, ‘It is the first time in France that we have plugged the weapon on the platform, a remote controlled platform… this kind of use for the French Army has not been developed yet.

‘The developing concept is to… help the army protect themselves. Basically with a 20mm gun for example we can begin to destroy more important threats,’ he added.

The other aim for Nexter’s development is for the UGV to work in a convoy, to have an overview of the area and clear the way for manned platforms. Le Berre added that the THeMIS UGV is not the only robotic option for the concept, it could be wheeled or tracked.

As well as these developments Milrem will display two of its autonomous THeMIS with the 12.7mm FN Herstal heavy machine gun and a THeMIS with a tethered UAV from Threod Systems.

The company has also integrated the ST Kinetics ADDER, Aselsan SARP and Kongsberg Protector weapon systems onto the UGV with live firings conducted with several of the systems. These are all 12.7mm weapons and the company is now working to integrate a 30mm system onto the robot.

‘The reason for such a number of integrations is the modularity. It’s extremely simple to integrate different systems on THeMIS and thanks to very low centre of gravity the whole system will stay very stable and capable to operate on difficult terrain,’ Väärsi said.

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