The proposed appearance of the Type-X in the version of the armored combat vehicle with cannon armament
The Estonian company Milrem Robotics, widely known for its universal robotic platform THeMIS, is working on a new combat mission complex. RTK Type-X is at the design stage, but already this year it is planned to build and put the first prototype to testing. Unlike its predecessor, the new Type-X will belong to the heavy class and will be able to carry a full range of weapons.
The development of a new heavy RTK was reported a few weeks ago, in early April. A promising project with the working name Type-X provides for the construction of a caterpillar autonomous combat armored vehicle with the ability to work on operator’s commands. It is expected that such a model will show noticeable advantages over the current "manned" equipment and will be able to replace it in some situations.
The management of Milrem Robotics noted that the new project already has a starting customer. The armed forces of an unnamed country became interested in the heavy RTK and almost completely paid for its development. In the future, new orders are expected from other countries.
In early April, it was reported that the development of the project was coming to an end. Already ordered individual components of foreign production. In the near future it was planned to import them into Estonia and use them in the construction of an experimental RTK. They are going to complete the assembly of the prototype by the beginning of autumn, and then proceed with testing.
The development company believes that it will take about three years to continue the work, test and refinement, as well as to obtain the necessary permits. Only after that it will be possible to start mass production in the interests of certain customers.
On May 25, Defense Update published new information about the project received from its developer. The timing of the appearance of experimental equipment is clarified, and the main technical features are also disclosed. The completion of the construction of the Type-X prototype was shifted to the end of the 3rd quarter of this year, after which factory tests will begin.
Heavy drone or light tank
The Type-X project provides for the construction of a tracked BBM with a modular architecture with maximum process automation and remote control. It is possible to install various combat modules and towers, including with anti-tank or anti-aircraft weapons. In the future, it is possible to create a new modification without reservation and weaponsadapted for use in commercial organizations of various kinds.
Type-X will be able to solve a wide range of combat tasks determined by the operator. With the help of this RTK it will be possible to conduct reconnaissance, provide fire support, accompany convoys, etc. In some situations, this technique will have advantages over conventional armored vehicles.
The basis of the RTK Type-X is a medium-sized tracked platform with a curb weight of 9 tons; payload, incl. in the form of a combat module - 3 tons. The chassis should have an armored body with bulletproof and anti-shatter protection. On board such a machine there is a power plant, communications and control, navigation, etc. Product length - approx. 6 m. Height - approx. 2,2 m.
RTK Type-X will receive a hybrid power plant based on a diesel generator and electric motors with batteries. Diesel and traction engines are located in the aft compartment; under the batteries given nasal volume. The chassis receives seven rollers with independent suspension on board. The estimated speed of the car on the highway reaches 80 km / h, on the ground - 50 km / h. Cruising range - 600 km.
The chassis provides for the installation of a set of television and thermal imaging cameras for all-round viewing, lidars and other sensors. Information from the sensors is collected by the on-board computer, creating a map of the area and controlling the movement. Depending on the task, the RTK will be able to move independently or on the instructions of the operator. In both cases, the direct control of the systems lies with the automation.
The first to develop a combat version of the Type-X, equipped with a turret with cannon-machine gun weapons. A two-ton combat module should carry an automatic gun of 30 or 50 mm caliber, a rifle caliber machine gun and smoke grenade launchers. To search for targets and fire control provides for the use of panoramic sight.
In the future, the appearance of other combat modules with one or another weapon is possible. The issue of creating a self-propelled anti-aircraft complex, mortar or radar is considered. The refusal of additional equipment is also possible, as a result of which the robot becomes a vehicle for people and goods. This version of the complex may be of interest not only to the armies, but also to civilian structures.
The RTK Type-X will include an operator panel equipped with large-format monitors and the necessary controls. Depending on the needs of the customer, the remote control can be installed on any platform. In particular, the design of a mobile control center based on an armored personnel carrier is being worked out. In the troop compartment of the armored personnel carrier, you can place up to four jobs - this will allow you to control a whole group of robots.
Milrem Robotics believes that their new Type-X RTK has a great future and will find its place in the market. This opinion is already confirmed by the availability of an order from one of the armies and its financial support. New orders are also expected. The development company believes that in the future robotic systems will become more widespread, and this determines the prospects for current developments.
A key feature of Type-X is the combination of three factors: a hybrid power plant, battery life and lack of crew. In this regard, the new Estonian RTK looks more successful than other modern developments.
Multipurpose platform Milrem THeMIS, involved by the French contingent in Mali. Photo: Milrem Robotics
A curious comparison is offered with traditional technique. So, the Type-X BBM is three times lighter and half the price of an average modern infantry fighting vehicle with similar running and combat characteristics. In this case, the robot has a reduced profile, which increases its survivability. Reduced mass reduces military transport requirements aviation, increasing strategic mobility and providing the possibility of parachute landing.
Complex for the future
The promising project RTK Type-X from the company Milrem Robotics is an advanced field and involves the use of a number of promising ideas. Due to this, it may be of certain interest to potential customers. Moreover, according to the development company, while the equipment being developed has already found a buyer.
The strengths of Type-X include a modular architecture that provides the possibility of building samples for various purposes, an advanced electronic complex, limited size and weight, as well as flexibility of application and the ability to solve a wide range of problems. Such a RTK can really find application in various fields and give the desired results.
However, the project may face serious difficulties. The main ones are related to ensuring effective battery life. The complex should independently determine the features of the terrain and carry out some operations without the intervention of the operation. Reliable algorithms for automatic tracking of the situation, detection and tracking of targets are also needed.
The ability of the development company to establish full-scale serial production with the delivery of a large number of equipment in a limited time raises questions. It is now clear that the assembly of the prototype, incl. with the involvement of foreign suppliers, it will take several months. How quickly they can build serial products is unclear.
Despite all the complexity, the prospects for the Type-X project can be viewed in an optimistic manner. Milrem Robotics has extensive experience in developing robotic systems and was able to interest a number of countries with its products. To date approx. 10 armies of NATO countries purchased the RTK THeMIS in various configurations for testing and evaluation. This technique shows itself well and receives high marks.
Developments on the THeMIS platform in finished or in a modified form could be used in the new Type-X BBM project - with getting good results. In addition, as follows from the messages of the development company, the promising RTK uses imported components, possibly from leading manufacturers. This can also have a positive effect on overall features and capabilities.
In general, the Milrem Type-X project looks quite interesting and may have good prospects. The direction of robotic systems in the form of armored combat vehicles is actively developing by the forces of several countries, and the results of this development attract the attention of the armies. The new Estonian development has already found its buyer, and it may not be the last.