A Russian think tank is offering a $16,000 bounty for the THeMIS robotic vehicle.
The vehicle was recently delivered to Ukraine, where it would be used to evacuate injured civilians.
The CAST think tank told Insider that it wants to provide such a system to the Russian military.
A Moscow-based think tank linked to the Russian military establishment is offering a cash reward – larger than most soldiers earn in a year – for the ‘by any means’ necessary capture of a vehicle state-of-the-art robotics used to help evacuate injured civilians in Ukraine.
Dubbed TheMIS, the remotely operated unmanned ground vehicle is made by an Estonian defense contractor, Milrem Robotics. A company spokesperson told defense publication Janes that at least one unit has already been delivered to Ukraine, where it is being used to transport medical aid and transport injured civilians.
The company says the system, which can carry up to 1,650 pounds, can also be “quickly configured to convert from transport to weaponry,” allowing it to be used in combat operations. Promotional literature emphasizes its ability to carry casualties across the battlefield, as well as mortar shells and other ammunition.
Milrem Robotics did not immediately respond to a request for comment on plans to deliver a combat version of the system to Ukraine. More than half a dozen NATO members, including France, Germany and the United States, have acquired versions of the THeMIS platform.
Russia apparently does not want to be left out.
“The conflict in Ukraine has demonstrated that modern warfare is unthinkable without the widespread use of unmanned vehicles,” Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Moscow-based Center for Strategy and Technology Analysis, said in a statement to Insider. Unfortunately, he said, in Russia “we are lagging behind.”
To catch up, the think tank is offering one million rubles, or more than $16,000, to anyone in the military or law enforcement who captures a virtually intact THeMIS robotic vehicle and delivers it to the Ministry of Defense, according to a recent CAST blog post. By comparison, someone who signs a three-year contract to serve in the Russian military earns an annual salary of just over $13,000, according to the Washington Post, and conscripts earn less than $25 a month. .
“If it is possible to get information about developments abroad, it should definitely be done, by all means,” Pushhov said. “The platform sold to Ukraine is a basic model, but even if we can study it, it will do us good.”
Jeffrey Edmonds, a former CIA analyst who now works as a Russian expert at the Center for Naval Analyses, told Insider that CAST should not be considered a direct arm of the Kremlin, although the opinions of its researchers are generally consistent with the line pushed. by Moscow.
“That being said, the head of CAST has very deep ties to the military establishment,” he noted.
In 2007, Pukhov was appointed a member of the Public Council of the Russian Defense Ministry. He told Insider his ultimate goal is to deliver better unmanned systems to the Russian military. “And under combat conditions,” he said, “capturing and studying the systems and platforms used by the enemy is one of the main ways” to achieve this.
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