Milrem Robotics Wins Major THeMIS UGV Deal from Japan

Milrem Robotics Wins Major THeMIS UGV Deal from Japan

Milrem Robotics, a subsidiary of the Edge Group, has secured a deal to provide the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF) with three of its advanced THeMIS tracked unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs). The contract underscores Japan’s push to integrate unmanned capabilities and bolster its asymmetric warfare assets.

The three THeMIS UGVs destined for the JGSDF will be outfitted for cargo transportation and intelligence gathering roles. Crucially, they will be equipped with Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Kit (MIFIK) which enables autonomous operation, reducing operator workload. This allows the vehicles to execute on-road and off-road missions independently.

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“The JGSDF aims to fundamentally strengthen defense capabilities using unmanned assets to gain asymmetric superiority while minimizing human losses – a mission UGVs are uniquely qualified for,” said Milrem Robotics CEO Kuldar Väärsi. “We’re honored to support them in enhancing combat effectiveness through advanced robotics.”

Japan’s Ministry of Defense awarded the contract through its newly launched Rapid Acquisition Program, aimed at swiftly fielding critical technologies to frontline forces. The proven THeMIS was selected after being tested in numerous military drills worldwide.

The THeMIS comprises two tracked pods housing batteries and a generator, connected by a central payload bay that can accommodate different mission payloads. It can be rapidly reconfigured from a transport role to a weaponized system, CBRN detection, ISR, or other specialty roles.

For combat missions, the THeMIS provides mobile direct fire support and acts as a force multiplier for dismounted troops by allowing them to observe and engage targets from standoff ranges. It has been showcased armed with heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, and anti-tank missiles.

Milrem’s UGVs are now fielded by 16 nations, including 8 NATO allies like the US, UK, Germany and France. The vehicles have seen operational use in the French anti-insurgency Operation Barkhane in Mali and are currently supporting Ukrainian forces against Russia’s invasion.

As nations invest in unmanned systems for the future battlefield, the JGSDF contract signals Japan’s intent to leverage advanced robotic capabilities like the THeMIS to enhance its ground forces’ strength while reducing human risks and costs.

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