European robotics and autonomous systems company Milrem Robotics has secured a contract to deliver THeMIS uncrewed ground vehicles (UGVs) to the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Forces (JGSDF).  

Financial specifics of the contract were not made public by the company.  

As part of this contract, Milrem Robotics will supply three THeMIS vehicles to enhance the capabilities of the Japanese forces to perform a variety of tasks, including intelligence gathering and supply transportation.   

The multi-role Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System or THeMIS UGVs are designed to minimise the number of troops deployed on the battlefield. 

It has an open architecture that allows for rapid reconfiguration to suit different mission needs, from transport to weaponisation or ordnance disposal. 

The vehicles being delivered to the JGSDF are equipped with Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Kit (MIFIK), which will allow forces to independently execute autonomous on- and off-road operations.  

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MIFIK’s capabilities include mission planning through waypoint navigation and setting vehicle behaviours en-route, although it is used strictly for vehicle mobility. 

The integration of THeMIS UGVs into the JGSDF is expected to enhance soldier safety and operational efficiency, offering new strategies for the Japan Self-Defense Forces to conduct their missions. 

JGSDF’s selection of THeMIS UGVs is part of the Rapid Acquisition Programme, a new initiative by the Japan Ministry of Defense aimed at equipping its forces swiftly with advanced technology.  

Milrem Robotics said it is committed to providing maximum support to ensure rapid deployment of the UGVs to Japan. 

Milrem Robotics CEO Kuldar Väärsi said: “The goal of the Ground Self-Defense Forces is to fundamentally strengthen its defence capabilities with uncrewed assets in order to gain asymmetric superiority while limiting human losses. A task to which UGVs are uniquely qualified.” 

Besides, the choice of THeMIS UGVs by the JGSDF is also due to their proven track record, as they have been adopted by 16 countries. 

Eight of these countries are NATO members, including Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US.  

Notably, THeMIS UGVs are currently supporting Ukrainian soldiers in the conflict with Russia. 

In September 2022, Milrem Robotics delivered its THeMIS UGVs to Ukraine