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Rheinmetall Mission Master UGV qualified for firing 70 mm rockets

20 March 2019
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A Rheinmetall Mission Master UGV controlled by a single soldier wearing Argus equipment fired Thales 70 mm rockets at the Overberg test range on 20 March. Source: IHS Markit/Nicholas Fiorenza

Rheinmetall Canada's Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) fired Thales 70 mm rockets during Rheinmetall Denel Munition's Ammunition Capability Demonstration (ACD) 2019 at Denel's Overberg test range on 20 March.

The UGV, which is controlled by a single soldier through a personal digital assistant (PDA), fired a salvo of 14 rockets delivering 60 kg of explosives in 1.6 seconds, said Alain Tremblay, Rheinmetall Canada's vice-president for business development.

Tremblay told Jane's on 19 March that the Mission Master conducted trials at Overberg over the last month, firing individual rockets and entire salvoes, culminating in the system's qualification for NATO and the South African National Defence Force. The UGV/70 mm rocket combination is now qualified under NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4568 on unmanned vehicle interoperability.

The Mission Master has two launchers for seven rockets each mounted on an adapted Rheinmetall remote weapons station and can fire 70 mm rockets with high explosive or high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads, according to Tremblay. He gave a range of 2 km for direct fire and 7 km for indirect fire, with guided rockets extending this range to 9 km.

He said a soldier with a PDA could control the Mission Master through a radio at a range of 8 km. In addition to being controlled with a man in the loop, the UGV can be operated semi-autonomously by pre-programming it so a "man on the loop" gives the final command before an action is taken. Tremblay expects the Mission Master to reach an initial capability to be operated fully autonomously without a man in or on the loop by early 2020.

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