Estonia signed an agreement with six countries on the development of the Modular Unmanned Ground Systems (MUGS), financed by the European Defence Fund (EDF), the Estonian Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) announced in a press release on 23 August. The project, led by Estonia and including Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, and Spain, aims to develop an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), command-and-control system, cyber defence, and integrated sensor network. MUGS will initially improve battlefield situational awareness and the efficiency of the manoeuvring and transport capabilities of units, according to the ECDI.
The first system prototype is scheduled to be demonstrated in 2021. It will be tested in different environmental conditions conducting combat missions.
The seven MUGS nations plan to request EUR30.6 million (USD34 million) from the EDF and add their own co-funding. The unmanned ground systems project is an EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) initiative confirmed by EU defence ministers in 2018 and must be assessed by independent experts of the European Commission in order to be funded.
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