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IrvinGQ develops airdrop cage for THeMIS UGV

UK-based aerial delivery equipment and parachute developer IrvinGQ has developed ATAX, an airdrop system that can deliver Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System (THeMIS) unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), Estonia’s Milrem Robotics announced on 26 March.

Conceptual illustration of the ATAX airdrop system with two THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles. (Milrem Robotics)

Conceptual illustration of the ATAX airdrop system with two THeMIS unmanned ground vehicles. (Milrem Robotics)

The ATAX is a modular, rapid-rig/de-rig, aerial delivery system that uses reusable, soft landing airbags in place of traditional methods such as energy dissipating materials (EDM) to mitigate the landing shock that airdropped items are subjected to. The cushioning effect of the airbag dissipates the kinetic energy as well as reducing the load preparation and rigging times by eliminating consumable rigging materials.

The ATAX airdrop system can be used to deploy two THeMIS platforms configured for defence or firefighting missions. The system also offers a drive-on/drive-off capability.

Further development is underway with IrvinGQ looking to create an auto-release mechanism that would enable the UGV to self-derig and drive off the ATAX platform unaided and autonomously.

The THeMIS UGV successfully passed its air transportability testing in September 2019 according to NATO STANAG 3542 standards.

The THeMIS UGV itself can be adapted for a wide range of missions other than transportation by installing mission systems such as a remote weapon station (RWS), explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) module, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) launcher, anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launcher. It can also undertake missions such as firefighting, demining, training, medical evacuation, reconnaissance, and communication relay.

A common question about deploying UGVs of a similar size to the THeMIS is how do you get the platforms to where you want them?” said Kuldar Väärsi, chief executive officer of Milrem Robotics.

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