Rheinmetall Canada showcased a new weaponised configuration of its Mission Master Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) during the Ammunition Capability Demonstration (ACD) event held at the Denel Overberg Test Range in South Africa. Armed with the Rheinmetall Fieldranger Multi weapon station and a 70 mm rocket launcher from Thales, the newly developed Rheinmetall Mission Master – Protection fired a salvo of 14 rockets, delivering 60 kg of explosives in 1.6 seconds, a feat never achieved before in the land domain. The Unmanned Ground Vehicle is controlled by a single soldier through a personal digital assistant (PDA). In addition to being controlled with a man in the loop, the UGV can be operated semi-autonomously by pre-programming it so a “man on the loop” gives the final command before an action is taken.
The Mission Master has two launchers for seven rockets each mounted on an adapted Rheinmetall remote weapons station and can fire 70 mm rockets with high explosive or high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads. The range of 2 km for direct fire and 7 km for indirect fire, with guided rockets extending this range to 9 km. The Mission Master firing individual rockets and entire salvoes, culminating in the system’s qualification for NATO and the South African National Defence Force. The UGV/70 mm rocket combination is now qualified under NATO Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4568 on unmanned vehicle interoperability. The Mission Master to reach an initial capability to be operated fully autonomously without a man in or on the loop by early 2020.
As demonstrated at ACD 2019, the Mission Master – Protection maximises soldier efficiency and substantially boosts the combat power of dismounted troops by providing close fire support. The Mission Master UGV can also conduct autonomous high-risk military tasks, resulting in a cognitive and physical stress relief in today’s complex battlespace. The UGV is produced by Rheinmetall Canada and was first revealed at Eurosatory 2018. It is a multipurpose, all-terrain UGV derived from the 8×8 Argo platform produced by the Canadian company Ontario Drive Gear (ODG). The unit is ruggedised, fully amphibious, and can optionally be fitted with tracks/chains. The 2.95 m-long vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 40 km/h. The basic platform weighs approximately 750 kg and can carry a payload of 600 kg, although this is reduced to 300 kg when used in amphibious operations.