WASHINGTON — European-based companies Milrem Robotics and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace are teaming up to design and build a new robotic combat vehicle geared to meet requirements for European militaries and the U.S., according to a Sept. 15 Milrem statement issued at the DSEI defense exhibition in London.
The companies are exhibiting the concept for the Nordic Robotic Wingman at DSEI that will be based on Milrem’s Type-X RCV and Kongsberg’s Protector remote turrets.
“Milrem Robotics and [Kongsberg] have agreed to jointly continue the development of the Type-X RCV by integrating [Kongsberg]’s systems to address the requirements of many countries interested in this type of technology, especially the Nordics and Western Europe, but also the US,” Sverker Svärdby, managing director of Milrem Robotics Sweden, said in the statement.
Two years ago at DSEI, Estonian-based Milrem stood with its THeMIS robotic vehicle platform cropping up all over the exhibition floor at other companies’ booths, showing the breadth of partnerships the company had already formed, including with Kongsberg.
Milrem has expanded its presence with offices in Sweden, Finland and soon to be in the Netherlands, the statement notes, and it leads the iMUGS Consortium that is funded by the European Commission’s European Defence Industrial Development Programme to develop a standardized unmanned ground system for Europe.
The Type-X tactical vehicle platform is designed to deliver “equal or overmatching” firepower to be used by units with Infantry Fighting Vehicles and would also provide mechanized units with the ability to breach enemy defenses while giving troops greater protective standoff, the statement describes.
The vehicle can accommodate up to a 50mm cannon as well as anti-tank missiles and a tethered drone.
Turret options from Kongsberg include the smallest RS2 Remote Weapon Station to the Infantry Fighting Vehicle turret RT60 with anti-tank guided missile capability, according to the statement.
Kongsberg’s network-based fire control capability is already fielded to the Norwegian Army and is participating in evaluations for the U.S. Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle program, according to Arne Gjennestad, the company’s vice president of marketing and sales.
The Type-X also comes with “intelligent functions” including follow-me, waypoint navigation and obstacle detection using artificial intelligence as part of the algorithms.
Milrem is introducing another feature called Indirect Drive that allows operators to remote-control the vehicle at higher speeds, which is important for a wingman vehicle keeping up with an infantry force.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for 10 years. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.