UVision Air Ltd. and Milrem Robotics have jointly developed a solution. Two of Milrem Robotics’ Robotic Combat Vehicles (commonly known as Unmanned Ground Vehicles, UGV´s) are now mounted with Loitering Munition Multi-Canister Launcher. This is a new step in the deployment of combat unmanned remotely operated systems.
The new operational concept, presented by the two companies, is designed to offer frontline forces with a new independent ability to locate, track and accurately eliminate heavily armored targets from large distances in challenging battlefield conditions, including GPS denied environment and communication jamming, without the need for a headquarters support. It provides small light forces with advanced ISR capabilities combined with highly accurate long-range heavy fire power that were achieved until now only with complex cooperation between several units and echelons.
The Estonian-based Milrem Robotics, which only four months ago announced the integration of the Cockerill Protected Weapons Station Generation II (CPWS II) on to its newly developed Type-X robotic combat vehicle (RCV), again shows its innovation, teaming with the Israeli company UVision, and installing a Multi Canister Launcher for UVision’s Lethal Loitering Munition Systems (LMs) on the RCV. The Launcher can be equipped with two of UVision’s already operational Loitering Munition Systems: The Hero-120, with its anti-tank warhead and up to one hour of flight time, and the Hero-400EC, capable of destroying fortified targets, with up to two operational hours. Milrem’s Type-X will also be equipped with a 40 km range communication antenna, located on a telescopic rising mast, improving the operator’s control of the system.
The second vehicle, Milrem robotics’ UGV flagship, THeMIS, is designed for operation by dismounted infantry and Special Forces. Able to carry up to six of UVision’s Loitering Munition systems, it will provide the forces with long-range ISR and firepower combination that will now be available to them for the first time. The THeMIS recently completed a full 12-month deployment to an international military operation in Mali, and has already been delivered to a several NATO countries (including Norway, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and USA).
“As a leading innovative company that takes pride in advanced and in-depth military understanding, UVision has long been a provider of new operational solutions” says Major General (res) Avi Mizrachi, UVision’s CEO. “With a highly experienced team, all – with military background, and many with actual combat experience, we know first-hand the challenges that are facing operational forces in battle conditions today, and we are committed to provide advanced, yet user-friendly and affordable solutions that meet those challenges. Teaming up with Milrem Robotics, to provide new operational concepts based on the advantages of both companies’ cutting-edge solutions, is another milestone in our unprecedented developments.”
Kuldar Väärsi, Milrem Robotics CEO adds, “bringing disruptive technologies to the battlefield and enhancing our war fighters’ safety and capabilities are the driving force for Milrem Robotics”. “Our robotic platforms are deployed by different nations and it is our duty to propose new ways on how unmanned systems can benefit to capability building.
Responding to FORCE’s queries on how the UGV will be controlled in a GPS-denied, communication-jammed battlefield for a possible change of mission, UVision said that the cooperation between UVision and Milrem Robotics is utilising a combination of the advantages of the existing products of both companies, by keeping the solution as simple as possible.
“Operating the ground vehicle is done by using the existing control unit of Milrem Robotics (a hand-held ruggedized tablet). This unit can easily overcome GPS limitations by using manual driving mode, or ‘follow me’ function, which orders the ground vehicle to go to designated location without relying on a GPS location. Such control will also overcome most jamming efforts, due to the short distance between the operator and the ground vehicle. The launch from the ground vehicle can also be done using that same control unit,” it added.
On how is data for the mission provided to the UGV, UVision added that once launched, the Loitering munition is controlled from the ground by using the same hand-held device (a ruggedized tablet), only this time by using UVision’s control application. The data is then sent between the munition in the air and the ground unit, using the existing UVision communication systems, which use several operationally proven measures to overcome jamming and GPS denial.
“The operator can then assign targets, control the flight, collect intelligence, attack, abort, attack again, all by using the sane controls which are already in use by UVision operational customers,” UVision further added.
UVision’s Hero-120 and Hero-400EC:
Modular, customizable loitering weapon systems that can be fitted with a range of powerful multi-purpose warheads and variety of payloads. These versatile, precision, multi-operational systems, with a unique aerodynamic structure, can carry out pinpoint lethal strikes against mid-range hard targets ‒ vehicles, tanks, concrete fortifications and personnel ‒ in populated urban areas or remote locations with minimal collateral damage. Their extended endurance of over an hour (Hero-120), and up to 2 Hours (Hero-400EC), and their loitering range of 40km (Hero-120) and up to 150km (Hero-400), allow these systems to be independently operated by frontline forces, precisely striking time-sensitive targets from a wide variety of angles. Featuring low acoustic and low visual and thermal signatures, and fully gimbaled, stabilized day/night tracking, both systems combine real-time intelligence with high-precision attack to allow a whole new range of operational possibilities. Advanced and versatile, these systems are highly affordable and cost-effective due to their recoverable option, using a parachute, while securing the warhead. The Hero-120 was recently purchased by several NATO military forces. The Hero-400EC was already operationally demonstrated and is currently in evaluation stages by several key military forces.
Milrem Robotics Type-X and THeMIS:
The Type-X RCV is a Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) with tactical characteristics of a modern Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The RCV can be equipped with a main armament of 30 up to 50 mm automatic cannon. It is a rapidly deployable and dependable unit, able to autonomously navigate the battlefield and perform tasks, keeping the operator in the loop with real-time Situational Awareness.
The Type-X concept is based on open architecture that enables it to be integrated with various payloads. The vehicle is designed for operations encompassing the entire spectrum of conflict from permissive to denied environments, fighting effectively in both conventional and non-conventional conflicts.
The THeMIS is the first hybrid fully modular unmanned ground vehicle in the world. The vehicle is intended to provide support for dismounted troops by serving as a transport platform, remote weapon station, IED detection and disposal unit, and much more. The vehicle’s open architecture gives it the multi-missions capability much needed on the modern battlefield.