Estonia and the Netherlands have signed a joint procurement agreement for seven Milrem Robotics THeMIS uncrewed ground vehicles (UGVs) through the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI).
Under the agreement, Milrem will deliver four THeMIS UGVs to the Royal Netherlands Army and three to the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF). Deliveries of the Estonian vehicles will begin this month with the Netherlands’ UGVs being delivered shortly after.
ECDI strategic category manager for armoured vehicles Ivar Janson said: “We are pleased that the unmanned ground vehicles developed by an Estonian company in the course of a defence research and development project supported by the Estonian Ministry of Defence can now be used by our armed forces.
“We are especially pleased that we found a common ground with our Dutch partners to conduct the Joint R&D project and procurement.”
Milrem will act as the systems integrator under the contract supplying the vehicles, as well as working on the integration of third-party systems, including remote weapon stations (RWS), onto the vehicles.
The Royal Netherlands Army has already accepted delivery of two THeMIS UGVs to its 13th Light Brigade’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) unit.
Royal Netherlands Army Commander of the Robot and Autonomous Systems (RAS) unit Lieutenant Colonel Martijn Hadicke said: “We are delighted to enhance our cooperation with Milrem Robotics by increasing our fleet to six THeMIS vehicles in joint efforts with the Estonian Ministry of Defence.
“So far, the THeMIS has successfully been used for research and experiments by operational units of the 13 Light Brigade in Scotland, Germany, The Netherlands and during a live-fire exercise in Austria.
“The addition of four extra THeMIS vehicles with a Remote Controlled Weapon System that is operated by a soldier provides us the opportunity to continue to develop concepts to enhance the combat power and decrease the risk for our soldiers.”
Estonian forces have made use of the UGV on Operation Barkhane in Mali, as well as several military exercises.
The THeMIS UGV has so far been delivered to nine countries, seven of which are NATO member states. Milrem is currently leading a European Union-funded ‘Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System’ iMUG project to develop a standardised European UGV.