Wed 22-02-2017 14:41 PM
by Muhammad Aamir
ABU DHABI, 22nd February, 2017 (WAM) -- Milrem, an Estonian military technology solutions provider, has expressed its intention to build a production unit to develop and arm unmanned ground vehicles, UGV, in the UAE.
"We, as a company believe in cooperation, and if the UAE Armed Forces start using these vehicles, we will produce these systems in the UAE," Kuldar Vaarsi, Chairman of the Board of Milrem, said. "We are not keen to do production in Estonia, but with local partners, our intention is to bring the production here in the UAE, depending on the volumes of the sales of this vehicle."
In an exclusive interview with WAM at IDEX 2017, Vaarsi said that the UAE Armed Forces have a very good understanding of how to use the vehicle, and the company is concentrating on cooperation on how to adapt to using robotic or unmanned units. "This is where we see the cooperation, and at the government-to-government level there can be very good collaborations between Estonia and the UAE."
The International Golden Group, IGG, announced on Tuesday its intensions to cooperate with Milrem to develop and arm unmanned ground vehicles, along with ASELSAN, the largest Turkish defence electronics company. The prototype of this product has been on display at IDEX 2017 under the umbrella of IGG.
Mr. Vaarsi said that is the first time the company has introduced this weaponised system. "We have two other systems this year at IDEX, one is on the Saudi stand with simple cargo transportation and other at the Estonian National Pavilion."
He said that a Letter of Intent, LOI, has been signed with the IGG group as a first step towards long term collaboration. "We will be testing this system with the UAE Armed Forces, and will analyse how these kinds of systems can be used to enhance the capability of armed forces."
Answering a question about testing the vehicle, he said, "We have carried out tests for the vehicle, including live firing with ASELSAN. We have carried out different testing in both sand and ice, and the Estonian Armed Forces have used this system during exercises. The US Army is due to start testing soon."
Regarding technical issues with the system, Vaarsi said that temperatures will be a challenge, however, the company has a very strong engineering team who have already prepared programmes on how to solve potential issues concerning the temperatures, especially in the Middle East. He said that it is very reliable and robust vehicle, because it is especially designed to be a military vehicle."
Vaarsi concluded by saying that the Middle East is the ideal market for these kinds of system, referring to IDEX 2017 as "an excellent show with very high interest in unmanned systems."
Milrem's two main lines of business cover the research and development of unmanned vehicles, and the repair and maintenance of heavy-duty military vehicles. Milrem is a member of the Estonian Defence Industry Association.
[Pictures by Muhammad Aamir/WAM]