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Milrem Robotics signs Estonian defense industry's biggest deal yet with UAE

A Milrem Robotics THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV).
A Milrem Robotics THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). Source: Milrem Robotics

Initiating the world's largest combat robotics program, Estonian defense industry company Milrem Robotics has inked a deal with the Ministry of Defense of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to supply 20 tracked robotic combat vehicles (RCVs) and 40 THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs).

Milrem Robotics is tasked by the contract with leading an experimental and trial program aimed at integrating unmanned ground capabilities into the UAE Armed Forces' arsenal, according to a press release.

The deal marks the Estonian defense industry's biggest order yet, with a value exceeding €100 million – but whose exact price tag is confidential information.

"The Milrem deal is an example of the fact that there's actually plenty of potential here," said Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform), speaking to ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Saturday.

"Now, from a global defense industry perspective, this isn't exactly a massive deal," he continued. "Even looking at how much Estonia has acquired from the global market, those sums are bigger. But of course this is significant. I hope this is in fact the first big step in a series of steps to come."

He noted that the Estonian defense industry companies have produced significant amounts of necessary equipment for Ukraine as well.

"There hasn't been very much talk about it, but there are defense industry companies in Estonia that have either together with their Western partners or on their own produced rather significant millions' worth of equipment," the minister highlighted, adding that part of the reason it hasn't been discussed as much is because this includes sensitive surveillance technology.

The latest contract includes the supply of tracked RCVs with 33 mm MK44 cannons, THeMIS Combat units equipped with 30 mm M230LF remote weapon stations and indirect fire systems as well as THeMIS Observe units with radar and camera systems, including shot detection capabilities.

Milrem Robotics will also provide comprehensive training and supervision to ensure the relevant personnel achieve a satisfactory skill level in operating combat unmanned ground systems, the company added.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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