Unmanned combat robot disarmed for reconnaissance duties

Unmanned combat robot disarmed...
The THeMIS Observe buttoned up for traveling
The THeMIS Observe buttoned up for traveling
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The THeMIS Observe buttoned up for traveling
The THeMIS Observe buttoned up for traveling
The THeMIS Observe with mast deployed
The THeMIS Observe with mast deployed

Milrem Robotics has rolled out its latest THeMIS Observe battlefield robot variant based on its modular THeMIS UGV platform, with an emphasis on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR), as part of the EU's fourth iMUGS project demonstration in Belgium.

The Integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS) is a permanent PErmanent Structured COoperation (PESCO) project by the EU with the goal of producing a European standardized Unmanned Ground System (EUGS). Key to this is Estonia-based Milrem Robotics' THeMIS modular robotic system that allows for the easy development of robot variants by swapping out payload modules on a common mobility and control module for missions that range from resupplying troops to deploying remote-controlled weapons.

Supported by the Estonian Ministry of Defense, the THeMIS Observe started out as a platform for transporting and launching a tethered quadcopter drone, and last year the THeMIS platform fitted with a 7.62-mm machine gun carried out live-fire exercises. In the latest variant, the drone has been fitted with ISR equipment, including a Z:Sparrowhawk camera from HENSOLDT, Squire radar by Thales, Metravib Defense Pearl acoustic shot detection, Rapid Obscuring SYstem (ROSY) by Rheinmetall, and a mast by the Teksam Company NV.

The THeMIS Observe with mast deployed
The THeMIS Observe with mast deployed

According to Milrem, a light remote weapon can be added to the THeMIS Observe, which also incorporates Milrem’s Intelligent Functions Kit with follow-me functions, and waypoint navigation with obstacle detection and avoidance.

The purpose of this is to provide soldiers with a reconnaissance platform that can move quickly to seek out and react to new threats using multi-sensor identification, while keeping humans as far from danger as possible. The company says that this is a capability gap that was not previously available to light infantry units.

"A UGV based ISR system significantly increases a tactical unit’s reaction speed on targets as well as the stand-off distance from enemy units," said Captain (reserve) Jüri Pajuste, Defense Research Director at Milrem Robotics. "Thanks to that the capability and survivability of tactical reconnaissance units will increase considerably."

The video below introduces the latest THeMIS Observe.

THeMIS Observe

Source: Milrem Robotics

This robot isn't going to be "keeping humans as far from danger as possible", it's going to be putting humans as close to danger as possible. And then killing them. Just to get that straight. Besides which, the whole point of war is young men killing each other in a manly fashion. How do you pin a medal on a machine? Are they supposed to roll down Main Street on Veteran's Day? How are kids supposed to idolize them? And when are we going to see the first homemade robot roll into a school and open fire? Do we really want to automate death like this?
With Estonia also the home to grocery delivery robots such as Starship - can it only be a matter of time before this beast delivers your shopping???
I wonder - why bother with armour? Just make it lighter, faster , cheaper, disposable.
If we're going to remove humans from war, do we really need to produce these robots? Couldn't they just be virtual, reducing war to a video game played between two nations that are compelled to abide by the outcome?

That's cheaper, tidier and no less absurd than trying to get our robots to blow up their robots.
I wonder in what sci-fi tale putin/xi would abide by the unfavorable outcome of a video game? But they might do it if their troops faced a huge swarm of these bots and a nuclear triad well hidden somewhere far.