Ukraine conflict: THeMIS robot delivered to Kyiv as Russia announces bounty for system's capture

by Alexander Stronell

THeMIS in CASEVAC configuration as demonstrated at the British Army Warfighting Experiment, Salisbury Plain, December 2018 (James Rands/Janes)

Janes has received confirmation of the delivery of a THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to Ukraine after images of the system being delivered emerged on a number of social media platforms at the beginning of September.

Speaking to Janes ahead of an official press release, a spokesperson for Milrem Robotics, the Estonian company that manufactures the THeMIS vehicles, confirmed that one system had been delivered to an unspecified Ukrainian charitable organisation in a casualty evacuation and logistics configuration.

“Milrem Robotics delivered the THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) suited for casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and transportation of supplies to Ukraine”, the company said in the press release.

Milrem Robotics is also understood to have provided training in Ukraine upon delivery to enable quick deployment of the system.

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Germany to procure 600 RAM Block 2B missiles for German Navy

by Kate Tringham

Although the RAM Block 2 (pictured here) has a larger motor than the RAM Block 1 and 1A, all three can be fired from the same launcher. (Raytheon)

The German federal parliament's budget committee has authorised the procurement of 600 RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) Block 2B quick reaction surface-to-air guided missiles for the German Navy.

In a 22 September announcement, the German Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the 600 missiles will be delivered between 2024 and 2029 under a contract worth EUR560 million (USD542 million). The acquisition includes additional contracts worth a total of EUR76.1 million to ensure the Block 2B systems are ready for supply and to extend the production of the LFK RAM Block 2 missile until it is replaced, the MoD added.

The RAM anti-ship missile defence system is a co-operative programme between the German and US governments, with Raytheon Missile Systems and the RAM-System (RAMSys) consortium of Diehl and MBDA Deutschland in Germany acting as prime contractors and co-operating partners.

The RAM is a ship-launched supersonic, lightweight, quick reaction fire-and-forget self-defence missile system. It uses dual-mode (passive radio frequency [RF]/infrared [IR]) guidance to engage several threats simultaneously.

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GA-ASI opposes possible Chinese corn plant near US airbase

by Marc Selinger

UK Royal Air Force crews are supposed to undergo training on the MQ-9B Protector UAV near the site of a proposed Chinese corn mill in the US. (Crown Copyright)

US defence contractor General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc (GA-ASI), which has a significant presence near Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, is urging the US government to block Chinese company Fufeng Group from building an agricultural facility near the military installation, citing national security concerns.

GA-ASI asserted on 20 September that the Chinese government could use the proposed corn milling plant as cover to conduct electronic surveillance or other forms of military espionage. GA-ASI tests and evaluates unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), radar, and other military technology in the local airspace. At a facility near the base, GA-ASI trains UAV pilots and maintainers, and is scheduled to begin training crews from the UK's Royal Air Force (RAF) on their new GA-ASI MQ-9B Protector UAV in 2022.

“The proposed agricultural project represents a major vulnerability for maintaining the necessary secrecy and integrity of classified weapons, communications frequencies, satellite connectivity, and many other technologies vital to global security,” GA-ASI said.

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Malaysian navy tables MYR2.4 billion proposal for three more Littoral Mission Ships

by Ridzwan Rahmat

A Royal Malaysian Navy Keris-class LMS. The service has proposed a MYR2.4 billion plan to procure three improved variants of this class under its 2023 budget. (Pieter Sinke)

The Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has laid out a MYR2.4 billion (USD524.84 million) proposal to procure an initial batch of three improved Littoral Mission Ship (LMS) vessels under the country's next defence budget.

Documents provided to Janes indicate that the plan is being proposed under the RMN's ‘Rolling Plan 3' of the 12th Malaysia Plan, which runs from 2021 to 2025. ‘Rolling Plan 3' covers proposals that will be funded in the country's national budget for 2023.

The vessels will be known as the ‘LMS Second Batch' and the three units that have been proposed for funding under its 2023 budget will be the first vessels in a class of eight ships.

Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein first disclosed in January 2022 during an annual ministerial address that the country will procure eight more ‘LMS Second Batch' vessels for the RMN as a follow-on to the Keris-class LMS. However, no further details were provided.

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Janes has received confirmation of the delivery of a THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to Ukraine...

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