An Estonian infantry platoon has deployed Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGV on patrol for the first time during operations in Mali.
The Estpla-32 infantry platoon deployed the UGV to test its utilisation in support of infantry in the conflict area, assessing it from both a tactical and a technical standpoint.
‘Deploying an unmanned vehicle will allow units to increase their combat power, as it reduces the physical load to soldiers and allows additional supplies to be included in an operation such as heavy weaponry, additional water, and ammunition that could not be transported without the vehicle,’ 2nd Lt Madis Pärnpuu, the second-in-command of Estpla-32, said.
‘We are currently using the UGV on patrols to identify and eliminate both technical and procedural bottlenecks, and test different ways of using it and integrating it into our tactics.’
Previously, THeMIS has been used to transport equipment needed by the unit in Mali, which is a tough operating environment due to high temperatures and a mix of terrain, so the military is testing the ruggedness of the UGV when operating in this area.
‘Mali is the perfect place to test new technology. In addition to supporting our troops, we have received a great deal of valuable feedback from Operation Barkhane on the reliability, ease of use and tactical use of the vehicle,’ Riho Terras, president of the defence division of Milrem Robotics, added.
‘The company will use the information collected from Mali for further development to improve the UGV and make it an even better tool for dismounted units.’
Milrem Robotics says that THeMIS is currently the only tracked UGV of its size class deployed in this operational area, and the company’s systems will continue to support the Mali mission in 2020.
THeMIS is a multi-purpose tracked vehicle that can be equipped with a range of different combat systems, and can be used for support and observation and transport of equipment such as water and ammunition.