Milrem Robotics announced that its unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) THeMIS has finished the first deployment in Mali in support of operation Barkhane.

THeMIS was deployed by the Estpla-32 infantry platoon during the ongoing French lead counter-terrorism operation in April last year.

The UGV was used by the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) for patrolling and transporting supplies within their base.

EDF senior staff officer lieutenant colonel Sten Allik said: “Partitioned urban areas can be challenging, and one cannot always depend on APC support.

“The opportunity to bring along a half-tonne of ammunition and water to places unreachable with an APC added great value to patrols and enhanced combat capability

“The THeMIS surprised us with its ability to withstand the tough environment. The heat and harsh terrain put the vehicle to the test; however, it passed with ease.”

Overall, the UGV was used by three Estonian platoons during their deployments.

The vehicle successfully completed its mission last month.

Once deployed, the UGV travelled 1,200km in Mali’s extreme weather conditions and remained operative for more than 330 hours.

Milrem Robotics CEO Kuldar Väärsi said: “We collected a lot of valuable data and feedback during the deployment and although EDF’s experience with the THeMIS was positive, there is always room for improvement.

“However, after this experience in Mali, we are confident that the THeMIS is more than capable of supporting operations in extremely hot climates.”

Milrem Robotics is readying for potential future deployments expected by the end of this year.

The EDF hopes to operate THeMIS along with further capabilities such as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, jamming and more.