Rheinmetall’s Mission Master robotic vehicle will join a two-year Concept Development & Experimentation programme of the Dutch Army. The Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) Unit of the 13th Light Brigade is running a multi-year Concept Development & Experimentation (CD&E) programme to pave the way for an operational unit. In the CD&E programme, various innovative operational concepts will be shaped to create desired Future Manoeuvre Elements that will enable the Dutch Army to execute missions more effectively. These operational concepts include the use of Autonomous Unmanned Ground Vehicles (A-UGV). The Mission Master was transferred in November 2020. Ready for action, the Mission Master A-UGV can operate in autonomous or semiautonomous mode as a fully-fledged member of the combat team.
A modular A-UGV, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master enhances the combat performance of soldiers deployed on the ground in numerous ways. The Mission Master’s artificial intelligence and robotic brawn mean that it can execute a multitude of dull, dirty, and dangerous tasks that troops would otherwise have to perform themselves, letting them get on with the most important thing of all: their core mission. Rheinmetall is a world-renowned manufacturer of state-of-the-art UGV, with a strong focus on autonomous and modular warfare solutions. After initial successful trials in the Nether¬lands and Scotland, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master is now joining a two-year CD&E programme to further develop these innovative operational concepts, where adaptability and autonomy are the key criteria.
The Mission Master platform is designed for maximum flexibility, and can be readily adapted for a wide variety of different missions thanks to modular build-ons specially engineered for quick installation. It is able perform a wide array of tasks, including cargo transport, casualty evacuation, CBRN detection, surveillance, and fire support (here, the human operator decides if and when to engage targets, something the remotely controlled effectors are never allowed to do autonomously). It can also serve as a mobile communications relay station. The Mission Master is thus a perfect match for the Dutch Army’s CD&E programme.
The handover marks the vehicle’s second success involving a NATO customer. In the UK, Her Majesty’s Armed Forces ordered four Rheinmetall Mission Master robotic vehicles in April 2020. Configured for transporting cargo, these autonomous unmanned ground vehicles are forming part of the British Army’s Robotic Platoon Vehicle programme. This programme is designed to determine the extent to which unmanned vehicles can boost the combat effectiveness and capabilities of dismounted troops at platoon level. In the Netherlands, Rheinmetall Canada’s cooperation partner is Rheinmetall Defence Nederland in Ede, just east of Utrecht.