Ukraine is getting more THeMIS robots, ground vehicles that Russian troops have been offered $16,000 to capture
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This image taken on March 21, 2022 shows a view of the Estonian-built unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) THeMIS (Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System) by Milrem Robotics on display at the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition (DIMDEX) in Qatar's capital Doha.
Ukraine will receive 14 more THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles, manufacturer Milrem Robotics announced on Tuesday.
The vehicles will be paid for by the federal government and will be delivered before next year.
They are used to evacuate casualties and clear paths from explosive devices.
Ukraine is expected to receive more than a dozen state-of-the-art robotic vehicles that can be used, among other things, to evacuate casualties on the battlefield and clear paths for explosive devices, Estonian military contractor Milrem Robotics announced on Tuesday. A Russian think tank previously offered a bounty for capturing one of these vehicles.
The unmanned vehicles, known as Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry Systems or simply "THeMIS," are being paid for by the German government in a deal between Milrem Robotics and German defense contractor Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The companies have agreed to deliver 14 of these by the end of the year.
The German Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
"Evacuation of the injured and clearing routes are two labor-intensive activities that require the deployment of multiple people who are constantly threatened by enemy fire," said Jüri Pajuste, director of research and development at Milrem Robotics, in a statement. "Automating these tasks with unmanned vehicles mitigates this threat and allows more soldiers to stay in a safe area or be dedicated to more important activities."
Around 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed or injured since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, estimated earlier this month. And according to British intelligence, Russia used improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, throughout the war to inflict casualties and lower Ukrainian morale.
According to the United Nations, at least 6,655 civilians were killed and another 10,368 injured - although the real number "is likely to be significantly higher," Matilda Bogner, head of the UN human rights monitoring mission, said.
The THeMIS evacuation robot (unmanned ground vehicle) was seen walking down a dusty road during field trials in Kyiv, Ukraine.Mykhaylo Palinchak/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
A previous shipment of THeMIS vehicles to Ukraine prompted a Russian think tank linked to the Kremlin's Defense Institute to offer a $16,000 bounty - more than a typical Russian soldier receives in a year - for capturing a "with by all means”, as stated, intention to study it and to manufacture similar devices in Russia itself.
"The conflict in Ukraine has shown that modern warfare is unthinkable without the widespread use of unmanned vehicles," Ruslan Pukhov, the director of the Moscow Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, told Insider in a September statement, adding : "We're lagging behind."
At the time, a Milrem Robotics spokesperson told Insider, "We take the bounty as a compliment."
The delivery to Ukraine is said to be the unarmed variant of the THeMIS system, capable of carrying a payload of up to 1,650 pounds and allowing it to transport multiple victims at once. But according to the manufacturer, the vehicle can be "quickly configured from the transport function to the armament".
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