The German Ministry of Defence has contracted two defense and technology firms to manufacture unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for Ukraine.
The agreement is part of Berlin’s ongoing efforts to support Ukrainian forces needing advanced systems to counter Russian aggression.
As part of the contract, autonomous systems manufacturer Milrem Robotics and German firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) will partner to deliver 14 THeMIS UGVs to Kyiv.
Seven will be reconfigured to support casualty evacuation and are expected to arrive in Ukraine by the end of the year. The other seven UGVs will be in the route clearance configuration, with payloads from French defense manufacturer CNIM Systèmes Industriels.
“Casualty evacuation and route clearance are two labor-intensive activities that require the engagement of several people who remain in constant threat of enemy fire,” Milrem Robotics director Jüri Pajuste said. “Automating these tasks with unmanned vehicles alleviates that danger and allows more soldiers to stay in a safe area or be tasked for more important activities.”
The vehicles are expected to be delivered by the second quarter of 2023.
The THeMIS UGV
Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGV is a multi-mission system capable of performing reconnaissance, target acquisition, rescue, and other military missions in dangerous or hard-to-reach areas.
It significantly improves soldier safety, keeping them a safe distance from enemy attacks and increasing their operational effectiveness.
The vehicle can be armed with weapon systems such as anti-tank missiles and machine guns to engage light armored vehicles.
It can travel up to 50 kilometers (37 miles) per hour for up to eight hours.
“The deployment of the THEMIS UGV to Ukraine means that the Ukrainian forces can increase the safety of their soldiers and let the UGVs handle tasks that are an immediate threat to humans,” Milrem Robotics chief executive officer Kuldar Väärsi said.
“Milrem Robotics is proud to be able to contribute to Ukraine’s fight against the aggressor.”