Heavily-Armed Hybrid: Milrem’s UGV with ST Kinetic’s ADDER in action at EUROSATORY

Image source: Business Wire

Image source: Business Wire

Milrem, an Estonian defense company, has recently come out with a hybrid diesel-electric drive UGV (unmanned ground vehicle) called the THeMIS.  For their armed versions, they have partnered with ST Kinetics, and are utilizing ST Kinetics’ highly-capable ADDER remote weapon station complete with CIS50 machine gun.  The CIS-50 has dual gas pistons and a dual-feed system to quickly switch between types of ammunition, and the ADDER is an excellent remote weapon system that incorporates auto-stabilization, tracking, thermal imaging and advanced sensors.  The ADDER can also accommodate an M240 7.62mm machine gun or the CIS-40 AGL with air-bursting munitions.  It is unclear at this time whether or not the THeMIS can handle the dual-weapon version of the ADDER, though it does have a maximum payload of 750kg.


Combined with a suspended track system, a top speed of 50km/h and an eight-hour runtime as well as options to be remotely operated or autonomous, the whole package looks to be a potent force multiplier on the battlefield.  No doubt the Estonian Defense industry is keeping a close eye on the UGV capabilities being developed in Russia at this time, including the Uran-9 controlled by their autonomous combat system dubbed “Unicum”.  We certainly live in interesting times.

Rusty S.

Having always had a passion for firearms, Rusty S. has had experience in gunsmithing, firearms retail, hunting, competitive shooting, range construction, as an IDPA certified range safety officer and a certified instructor. He has received military, law enforcement, and private training in the use of firearms. He is fortunate enough to have access to class 3 weaponry as well.


  • Red McCloud

    We Skynet now.

    • Rusty S.

      Russia’s UNICUM system IS skynet. It can automatically designate targets and engage them with multiple UGVs/UAVs with no human input.

  • Tinklebell

    Well, 2029 is only 13 years away.

  • noob

    I wonder how long before there is a “Combat Hacker” MOS. It would be sort of like being an electronic warfare specialist except you are in the infantry and walking on your own two legs. You are expected to be exploiting flaws in the enemy’s software, communications and information flow while under fire to turn their autonomous weapons against them. You might have a battle where one weapons system kills humans on both sides, changing allegiance repeatedly as hacks and patches take effect.

    • derpmaster

      Black Lotus has trained us well.

      • Major Tom

        And here 99.999% of the time you’re using these guys for cash.

    • Xanderbach

      One of the main characters in William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” was a combat hacker. He was dropped into a combat zone via a glider specifically to hack enemy sytems from the front.

  • Dracon1201

    It’s a baby Thunderfire Cannon. Needs more bolters.

  • Major Tom

    One half-heartedly aimed M203 round = dead UGV. Same deal with RPG’s.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Spending that much money on something that looks pretty easy to disable does seem a bit naive.

    • How many dead infantrymen would it mean? I think that’s probably the main point of this thing.

      • Major Tom

        Usually UGV’s are designed for the purpose of replacing vehicles. So while taking out a 5 million dollar UGV with a 75 dollar 40mm grenade might mean no human casualties, it means a lot less effective of a fighting force compared to a more well-protected (and versatile) manned vehicle for the same price.

        If the UGV’s replace infantry, you lose a lot of the advantages infantry have and it won’t take long before your vehicles are very awareness impaired and that’s not accounting for political, psychological and battlefield effectiveness problems that are mitigated, eliminated or otherwise avoided with boots on the ground instead of robots.

        If an AO is so dangerous that you want super expensive hardware instead that’ll easily get wasted, why haven’t you simply erased that grid off the map with artillery, bombers and maybe nukes? Fighting half-arsed like that only leads to defeat.

        • I don’t think this sort of UGV would be a replacement for infantry, but a tactical support vehicle; something that can travel alongside a unit and be sent out from behind cover to roll up to a fortified position with a grenade launcher or provide covering fire with a machinegun. It could also be used to transport gear and carry heavier anti-tank weapons like the aborted (and much more ambitious) LS3 program, and if it had some kind of ballistic shield it would be a great asset in recovering casualties without creating new ones.

          $5million, though… yeah, it’s gonna need to be hella cheaper to be practical/realistic. DARPA should hire some of those robot combat TV show teams to design something on the cheap; it doesn’t need to be autonomous for anything more than traveling from A to B.

          • The Brigadier

            A Mercedes Model S in diesel can be heavily armored at the factory for only $23,000 more. Put a remote control on it and a couple of 240s and you have a relatively cheap remote fighting vehicle. In contrast it takes one million dollars to train a US fighter pilot. I wonder how much the baby remote tanks will cost each? Probably two to three times the cost of a Mercedes Model S. In the end the money is a factor only if it doesn’t pay for victory.

          • I am honestly surprised that we haven’t seen any Mercedes/Porsche/Lexus/Range Rover technicals on the Saudi borders.

            Cost is why I suggest getting the robot war TV show contestants involved; they have practical experience building tough, multi-function remote control vehicles on the cheap. Of course, that’s almost certainly the reason why they won’t be consulted, since cheap equipment with reliable off-the-shelf components doesn’t make billions of dollars for LockMartNorthGrumCorp.

        • The Brigadier

          The will be used to reduce defenses saving humans for final assaults. Full infantry and human armored units will be much more effective at full strength if enemy defenses and are taken out by predator drones and remote battle tanks. Yes it will be costly in equipment but cheap compared to the high training costs of new troops and accoutering them.

  • Reid

    Metal Slug

  • I’m honestly surprised that the DoD hasn’t been (more publicly) moving in this direction; obviously, the 24 Hour News Cycle™ viewing public don’t care nearly as much about dead soldiers or marines as they do about a shot-down aircraft, but if the main rationale behind UAVs is to eliminate the risk to pilots on dangerous missions, you’d think they’d get around to using UGVs to do the same for Pvt. Boots McRiflehumper eventually. I’m sure there are a hell of a lot of guys in various exciting locations around the world who would much rather send an armed UGV to say hello to those interesting people around the corner than to go introduce themselves in person.

    • felix


  • London Jolly

    Every day, between TrackingPoint and now this, GRAW becomes more and more real. Cool.

    As for defense, surely something like a Trophy LV or similar could stop explosives. The thing only weighs like ~250 kilos.

  • sean

    Non-Humanoid Hunter Killer Model T-1

  • Vhyrus
  • LazyReader

    Shit I can strap more firepower on a wheelchair, now that’s what I call mobile infantry.

  • Gary Kirk

    Looks like a really nice mobile target for our 0331s

  • Badwolf

    imho better if it were smaller. More stealth and speed, less weight. Move around and kill enemies without being seen. And if it gets damaged its okay because it’s relatively cheap.

  • Mike Reagan

    Has no one seen Code of Silence? Chuck did this 30 years ago!

  • TJbrena

    Can’t wait to see this on the new season of BattleBots!

  • jon spencer

    If you use two of these, one with a SAM radar and another with the SAM’s and place them a klick apart with the operator somewhere in-between. Even if you lose both UGV’s and you get the aircraft you are money ahead. This is figuring from a F-16 minimum cost of $15 million, not including the pilot.

  • Ken

    I for one welcome our robotic overlords.

  • The Brigadier

    History is preparing to repeat itself. In the US in WWII the US made 137,000 warplanes in all services far outproducing our allies and enemies. The Soviets made 50,000 battle tanks. Now the the US is in the process of producing tens of thousands of war drones, and by this story the Russians are going to produce tens of thousands of remote controlled tanks. Both countries efforts are scaled down versions of man controlled units, but they can be if life support is not an issue. I wonder how the new little war baby tanks with their 240B air defenses will stand up to the baby predator drones armed with Hellfire missiles. Or perhaps the drones will simply fly far above the baby tanks and go right for the humans. This is a whole new war technology and I know there are people in this country who have come with efficient defenses to counter government predator drones. This is what Homeland Security will primarily use if a civil war breaks out. It will be both terrifying and enlightening to see what the Heartland forces have come up with to eliminate the drones.

  • The Brigadier

    These all look amazingly vulnerable to simple RP grenade launchers or mobile 40mm antitank guns. A couple of grunts in hidey holes could take out dozens of them.

    • Ignacio Muñoz Diaz

      Te ural 9 Weight 10 TONS a simply 40 mm don’t be enough
      Have the same vulnerability ofertas a bmp2… Be a complement, noticias a sustitute
      Remenber mogadisco.. The ural 9 be a lot less vulnerable Thats hummve’s

  • Arnold May II

    It reminds of something from Terminator or Robocop