Estonian unmanned systems specialist Milrem Robotics announced on 6 January that its latest Type-C robotic combat vehicle (RCV) has passed its initial mobility tests.
First revealed last summer, the Type-X has been designed to fulfil the role of “an intelligent wingman” for armoured and/or mechanized units. Capable of taking on the most demanding – and dangerous – tasks, the RCV offers operators the opportunity to reduce lethality risks for frontline soldiers.
“The Type-X will provide equal or overmatching firepower and tactical usage to a unit equipped with infantry fighting vehicles (IFV). It provides [the] means to breach enemy defensive positions with minimal risk for own troops, and replacing a lost RCV is purely a logistical nuance,” explained Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.
The Type-X can be fitted with a cannon up to 50mm calibre. Limiting the main armament to a 30mm cannon means the vehicle retains its ability to be airdropped – a C-130J or KC-390 could carry a single vehicle, an A400M two or a C-17 five.
“The vehicle will be equipped with intelligent functions such as ‘follow-me,’ waypoint navigation and obstacle detection, with artificial intelligence being part of the algorithm,” Väärsi added. “Also, Milrem Robotics’ software developers have taken a totally new and innovative approach to allow remote-controlled operations [at] higher speeds.”
Type-X weighs 12t – approx. one quarter to one third of conventional IFVs, at significantly lower cost. High power availability coupled with efficient power management mean terrain handling capabilities are superior which, coupled with low height and a rear-mounted engine that offer low visual and heat signatures, in turn mean the vehicle has a high degree of survivability. It has been designed with intelligent predictive maintenance combined with a health and usage monitoring system: combined with application of the Line Replacement Unit principle, this ensures low lifecycle costs and logistic footprint. Its hybrid powertrain and rubber tracks also contribute to significantly reduced lifecycle costs.
Milrem has leveraged the deep knowledge and experience base gained in development of the THeMIS UGV, already acquired by ten nations, including seven members of NATO.
To develop the Type-X RCV Milrem Robotics utilized its knowledge gained from developing its flagship product the THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle, intended to support dismounted troops, that has already been acquired by ten countries, seven of which are members of NATO.