Global military recruitment problems poised to be overcome with unmanned ground vehicle and other robotic systems, finds GlobalData

In an exclusive interview with GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, at the DSEI conference, Mr Jüri Pajuste, Research and Development (R&D) Director at Milrem Robotics, highlighted that the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) market is still relatively small, but global military recruitment problems will create a capability gap, which UGV’s and other robotic systems are poised to fill.

William Davies, Associate Defense Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Recruitment is becoming harder for militaries, with the British Army reporting that infantry units are experiencing up to a 30% shortfall in soldiers in recent years. This is leading to a search for robotics to meet traditional needs, and current systems under development like Milrem’s Themis have multiple functions including transport, ordnance disposal and combat capabilities.”

Mr Pajuste, a reserve Captain in the Estonian Army, acknowledges that UGV’s are not as widely fielded as possible, but that in the next five to 10 years early adaptors including Estonia and Russia will find more applications for UGV’s within their forces.

Davies continues: “Milrem is at the forefront of the European joint procurement program, which is aiming to standardize a UGV design across a number of European countries. The prototype is based on the ‘Themis’, a UGV produced by Milrem Robotics. The program is called the integrated Modular Unmanned Ground System (iMUGS), with Estonia as the lead country.”

GlobalData’s latest report, ‘Estonia Defense Market – Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2026’, reveals that the projected Estonian defense budget will reach US$1.12bn by 2026, and that military UGV’s will be a top defense segment for the country in the next five years – with an expectation of growth at over 22% during the period.

Davies adds: “The technology faces problems in that current UGV’s are not widely fielded, and that, in many cases, militaries do not have long term plans in place for how to integrate them into their forces. Whilst Milrem sees Europe as its home market, it also considers South East Asia and the Middle East to have growth potential, according to Mr Pajuste.”

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