Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) have been deployed by the Estonian Defence Forces Artillery Battalion during a live-fire exercise to provide advanced situational awareness and perform casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) as well as to provide direct fire support from various positions. Two different UGV models were used – the THeMIS Combat Support integrated with an FN Herstal deFNder Light Remote Weapon System (RWS), and the THeMIS Observe equipped with an Acecore tethered drone.
The THeMIS Combat was tasked with supporting an advance force that consisted of an antitank weapons team and a forward observation team. The vehicle’s main task 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 via use of a tethered drone, which provides tactical units with 24 hours of constant observation of the operational area. This enhanced visibility is vital not only for situational awareness on the battlefield, but also for safety during these peacetime live-fire exercises.
Jüri Pajuste, Director of Defence Research at Milrem Robotics, commented: “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. 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.”
Lt Mari-Li Kapp, commander of operations and training section (S3) in the Artillery Battalion, said: “We found several benefits in including UGVs into our battle scenario. 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.”