Parachuting, ejection seat and naval decoy manufacturers IrvinGQ have announced a parachute system to air drop Milrem Robotics’ THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) into operational areas. The platform uses IrvinGQ’s established ATAX Modular Aerial Delivery Platform to enable a pair of UGVs to be parachute delivered from a C-130 Hercules or similar aircraft or from a sling-load under a CH-47 helicopter.
ATAX employs reusable ‘Soft Landing Airbags’ which “… reduce load preparation and rigging times by eliminating consumable rigging materials; significantly reduce the shock forces imparted into the cargo load; and facilitate a true drive-on drive-off capability.” Significantly, the ATAX is equipped with an automatic release, allowing the UGV to “self de-rig” and go straight into action.
“The airdrop platform will widen the possibilities of how armed forces can deploy autonomous or remotely piloted THeMIS UGVs behind enemy lines, or as part of airborne operations combined with infantry,” noted CEO of Milrem Robotics Kuldar Väärsi. The THeMIS is already STANAG 3542 compliant, meaning it can be internally loaded in transport helicopters and aircraft, but the ATAX system ushers in a revolutionary capability.
Although the THeMIS is currently controlled by a line of sight controller up to 1.5 kilometers distant, ATAX delivery offers the intriguing possibility of the UGV being controlled from above, be that from a helicopter or an unmanned aerial vehicle. As it stands, once the THeMIS is air delivered by ATAX, a ground controller would be required to operate the platform. Milrem have been developing a Beyond Line Of Sight system for THeMIS which would allow non-line of sight operation up to to one kilometer in urban terrain and two and a half kilometers in open terrain.
A primary role of the ATAX delivered THeMIS ATAX will likely be direct fire support to paratroopers or air-mobile troops, establishing security around a drop zone or landing zone. Additionally it could be used to insert armed UGVs to support pathfinder or special operations teams, to provide a specialist explosive ordnance disposal capability to combat engineers encountering complex terrain that needs to be cleared, or even to forward deploy a medical evacuation platform to medics at the forward edge of battle.