Milrem Robotics, manufacturer of the THeMIS Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (UGV), has increased its production capacity fivefold by opening a new facility in Tallinn, Estonia.

This expansion enables the company to meet the rising demand for intelligent robotics solutions.

The new facility, situated adjacent to Milrem Robotics’ headquarters, allows for the annual production of more than 500 units of the THeMIS UGV. The expansion also includes enhanced prototyping facilities, aimed at accelerating the development of new products within Milrem Robotics’ portfolio. An additional 1,000 square metres of office space has been added to accommodate this growth.

The THeMIS UGV can be configured for different roles including reconnaissance, observation, target acquisition, communications relay, logistics support platform, rescue, fire-fighting and medical evacuation. The THeMIS ADDER variant features a weapon station compatible with a 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun, a 12.7mm machine gun, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and a CIS 50MG machine gun.

The THeMIS UGV is already integrated into robotics programmes in 18 countries, including eight Nato members: Estonia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US. These vehicles are also aiding Ukrainian soldiers in the conflict with Russia.

Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics, highlighted the significance of the new facility, stating, “Many end-users, satisfied with the results of testing the robotic vehicles, are preparing to launch high-quantity procurements. With the opening of our new facility, we are better prepared to answer these calls. Also, the growing use of UGVs in Ukraine shows a clear focus and importance of unmanned ground systems.”

Väärsi noted that the expansion is bucking the recent trend of lay-offs among robotics manufacturers, with Milrem hiring an additional 100 staff and expected to create further positions indirectly with high-technology partners and suppliers.

Kusti Salm, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence of Estonia, commented on the expansion, stating, “The expansion of the Estonian defence industry is beneficial from both a security and economic perspective. For many years, Estonia’s defence industry policy has aimed to develop a high-tech defence industry that can be competitive in export markets. 

Salm continues: “Milrem Robotics is a good example of how a defence industry start-up has grown in ten years into a large and innovative industrial company, in Estonian terms, with a wide international customer base that can include a wide range of Estonian subcontractors, engineers and specialists in its network. The creation of such companies – and others that have been established in recent years – is a sign of the maturity of the Estonian defence industry and the potential to contribute more to national defence and economic development.”

The United Arab Emirates state-owned conglomerate Edge Group agreed to purchase a majority controlling share in Milrem Robotics in February 2023, following the 24.9% acquisition of Milrem Robotics from Munich-based Krass-Maffei Wegmann in May 2021.