Ukrainian Drone Tank Get Starlink Satcom Connections for Remote Operation

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Milrem Robotics and AEC Skyline managed to integrate Starlink satellite communications with the THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), allowing it to be controlled over long distances. This communication system has reportedly been integrated into the THeMIS Cargo CASEVAC, a UGV currently deployed in Ukraine. The company will unveil the advanced Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) controlling capability at the Eurosatory 2024 in Paris.

According to Interesting Engineering, the Starlink satcom integration will allow unmanned combat support vehicles to be safely deployed to the battlefield while operators remain at a secure distance, even thousands of kilometers away. The robotic vehicle leverages satellite connectivity to seamlessly transmit data, receive commands, and relay vital information in real-time, regardless of its location on the battlefield.

Raul Rikk, Capability Development Director at Milrem Robotics, stated: “This development marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of military robotics, offering unparalleled capabilities for remote operation and situational awareness… With satellite communications, operators can maintain control over the robot from a safe and strategic vantage point, minimizing the risks associated with direct human involvement in combat zones.”

Milrem Robotics partnered with AEC Skyline to integrate the satcom connection capability with the UGV and signed a deal with the Ukrainian Defense Industry (UDI). The deal dictates that Ukrainian defense developers and manufacturers will integrate their technology (weapons, electronic warfare, mine-clearing equipment, etc.) with Milrem’s robotic vehicles to meet the requirements of the armed forces.

The now Starlink integrated THeMIS is a medium-sized military UGV designed to provide support to soldiers on foot by serving as a transport platform, remote weapon station, improvised explosive device (IED) detection and disposal unit, and more. Furthermore, its open architecture enables it to perform various missions. The THeMIS has been integrated with various weapons and weapons systems, including the FGM-148 Javelin, deFNder Medium, PROTECTOR RWS, IMPACT, and Brimstone anti-tank system.