Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGVs used in a live-fire manned-unmanned teaming exercise

The Estonian Defence Forces Artillery Battalion used Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGVs in a live-fire exercise to provide advanced situational awareness, conduct casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and support units manoeuvre while providing direct fire support from various positions.

During the exercise held in April, two THeMIS UGVs were used by the Artillery Battalion: the THeMIS Combat Support integrated with FN Herstal’s deFNder® Light Remote Weapon System (RWS) with a 7,62 mm machine gun and the THeMIS Observe with Acecore’s tethered drone.

The THeMIS Combat was tasked with supporting an advance force that consisted of an antitank weapons team and a forward observer’s team. The main task of the UGV was to provide covering fire and support the retreat of the two teams to main positions as well as transporting their anti-tank weapons. At the main battle position, the UGV was used for casualty evacuation.

The THeMIS Observe provided overwatch and enhanced the battalion’s situational awareness. The use of a tethered attachment to the THeMIS UGV provides tactical units with 24 hours of constant observation of the operational area that is essential in the situational awareness prospective as well as peacetime live-fire safety perspective.

“Taking part in the live-fire exercise of the Artillery Battalion was a great opportunity for us to validate our new infantry support UGV with end-users in an actual combat scenario,” said Jüri Pajuste, Director of Defence Research at Milrem Robotics. “The THeMIS Combat Support, as well as other unmanned ground systems, will enhance various combat capabilities and help reduce loss of life during combat operations,” Pajuste added.

“We found several benefits in including UGVs into our battle scenario,” said Lt Mari-Li Kapp, Commander of operations and training section (S3) in the Artillery Battalion. “Having UGVs as a part of the reconnaissance force that prepares the arrival of the main unit, the UGVs could secure the indirect fire and anti-tank teams by providing direct fire support during an engagement and whilst some units are withdrawing. UGVs could also act as front guards all by themselves since they can provide situational awareness and act as forward observers for indirect fire,” she added.