The Ukrainian defense conglomerate Ukrainian Defense Industry (Ukroboronprom) has signed an agreement with Estonia’s Milrem Robotics, Europe’s foremost developer of robotic and autonomous systems, to collaborate on a new generation of multi-domain robotic defense systems, as announced by Milrem Robotics on 7 December.
The landmark deal was inked at the inaugural Defence Industries Forum in Kyiv on 8 December. It lays the foundations for the joint development and production of advanced robotic systems tailored to Ukraine’s specific military requirements, both for the current conflict with Russia and its aftermath.
“This unfortunate war in Ukraine has made it clear that unmanned and robotic systems have an important role on the battlefield and this role will increase in time,” affirmed Milrem CEO Kuldar Väärsi. “The main goal is to protect the troops and to keep the warfighters safe, but at the same time provide stronger and an asymmetric effect on the aggressor’s forces.”
As a first step, Milrem and Ukroboronprom member companies will identify priority use cases and capability gaps in Ukraine’s armed forces that could be addressed by robotic systems integration. This will build on Milrem’s existing platforms, such as its THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle, and leverage Ukraine’s extensive real-world experience with autonomous technologies over ten months of warfare.
The partners will then collaborate on developing and manufacturing new solutions tailored to Ukraine’s manned and unmanned unit needs across domains like infantry support, combat engineering for route clearance and mine detection, fire support, logistics, and casualty evacuation. Production capacity for vehicles like Milrem’s THeMIS Combat and Type-X Robotic Combat Vehicle may also be set up in Ukraine.
“We aim to deepen our cooperation with leading high-tech international companies to build the arsenal of the free world together,” stated Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries Oleksandr Kamyshin, underlining the alliance’s significance amid Russia’s ongoing invasion.
So far Milrem has donated 15 THeMIS vehicles to assist Ukrainian forces and border guards with medical evacuation, supplying isolated garrisons and clearing mines. By pooling their technical expertise, the two sides now seek to develop more advanced, tailored solutions. The next generation co-developed platforms promise improved asymmetric warfare capabilities against Russian troops.
“The First International Defence Industries Forum proved that we are on the same course as our Western partners, as Ukrainian manufacturers signed an agreement with Milrem Robotics and other global arms companies,” Kamyshin continued. “Currently, Ukraine is gaining unique experience in Defense Tech, and we are ready to share this knowledge with our partners.”