An Estonian Army infantry platoon currently serving in Mali, has for the first time deployed a Milrem Robotics THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) during a military operation.
The Estpla-32 infantry platoon was testing its implementation in support of infantry in the conflict area from both a tactical and a technical viewpoint.
“Deploying an unmanned vehicle will allow units to increase their combat power, as it reduces the physical load to soldiers and allows additional supplies to be included in an operation such as heavy weaponry, additional water and ammunition that could not be transported without the vehicle,” says 2nd Lieutenant Madis Pärnpuu, the second-in-command of Estpla-32.
“We are currently using the UGV on patrols to identify and eliminate both technical and procedural bottlenecks, and test different ways of using it and integrating it into our tactics,” Pärnpuu adds.
THeMIS has been used in the past, to transport equipment needed by the unit in Mali both at and near their base. THeMIS is currently the only tracked UGV of its size class deployed in the operational area. Milrem Robotics’ UGVs will also support the Mali mission in 2020.
The terrain and weather in Mali is hostile with high temperatures of up to 50 degrees in the shade and lava rock soil, loose sand, which making land mobility challenging. THeMIS has proven itself reliable in these conditions.
“Mali is the perfect place to test new technology. In addition to supporting our troops, we have received a great deal of valuable feedback from Operation Barkhane on the reliability, ease of use and tactical use of the vehicle,” said General (Ret) Riho Terras, President of the Defence Division of Milrem Robotics. The company will use the information collected from Mali for further development to improve the UGV and make it an even better tool for dismounted units.
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