An Estonian infantry platoon has operationally deployed Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGV on patrol for the first time during Operation BARKHANE in Mali.
Press Release, Tallinn, 01 October 2019: The Estpla-32 infantry platoon currently serving in Mali deployed for the first time the Milrem Robotics THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) during a military operation, testing its implementation in support of infantry in the conflict area from both a tactical and a technical viewpoint.
“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,” said 2nd Lieutenant Madis Pärnpuu, the second-in-command of Estpla-32. “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,” he added.
In the past, THeMIS has been used to transport equipment needed by the unit in Mali both at and near their base. Mali is one of the toughest regions in the world with lava rock soil, loose sand and high temperatures that can reach 50 degrees in the shade. Such conditions test the capabilities of the THeMIS but also other technology available to units like radio stations, GPS equipment, etc. Despite the difficult circumstances, the THeMIS has proven itself reliable.
“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,” said General (Ret) Riho Terras, President of the Defence Division of Milrem Robotics. 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’ THeMIS is currently the only tracked UGV of its size class deployed in the operational area. Milrem Robotics’ UGVs will also support the Mali mission in 2020.
THeMIS is a multi-purpose tracked vehicle that can be equipped with a range of different combat systems. The THeMIS in Mali can be used for support and observation. The vehicle can transport equipment such as water and ammunition and thanks to its cameras increase situational awareness and allow for an overview of dangerous areas without endangering soldiers.
Editor’s footnote: The UGV deployed on Op BARKHANE appears to be the very latest Fifth Generation version of THeMIS.