The Moscow-based Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST) has announced a reward for the capture and delivery of a Milrem Robotics-built THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) deployed in Ukraine.
Russian occupiers will pay 1 million rubles [approximately €16,600] to anyone who manages to capture a THeMIS UGV and deliver it to the Russian Armed Forces "more or less in one piece," online news portal Censor.net (link in Russian) reported Monday.
The news portal cited Russian propagandist Alexander Kots, according to whom the institute has a "purely technical interest" in the Estonian-developed platform. Kots also noted that the initiative had been coordinated with the "relevant institutions" of the Russian Federation.
"We take CAST's challenge as a compliment," Milrem spokesperson Gert D. Hankewitz told ERR.
According to Hankewitz, Milrem delivered the first THeMIS UGV configured for the transport of equipment and the wounded to Ukraine at the end of August.
"Upon delivering the vehicle, our instructors also provided thorough training to its future operators," he added.
"As the delivery was only just last week, it's too soon to talk results," the Milrem spokesperson said. "What's certain is that transport of the wounded is one of the most crucial and also the most physically demanding actions on the battlefield, which is also high-risk. You need multiple people to carry a stretcher, but just one to operate a UGV."
This difference will allow those freed up to focus on assisting more of those who need it.
"It also doesn't put those sent to retrieve the wounded at risk," Hankewitz said, adding that more wounded people fit on an UGV as well. "The UGV can also simultaneously be used to transport first aid supplies, ammunition as well as other gear, such as water, food, etc."
Milrem has already delivered UGVs to 11 countries, including Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway, the U.K. and the U.S. for testing.
Ukraine is the first country to deploy the THeMIS in combat.
Editor: Aili Vahtla