The Royal Thai Army has recently completed a comprehensive evaluation of the cutting-edge D-Iron RCV (Robotic Combat Vehicle), marking a significant step forward in the country’s defense capabilities. The testing and assessment of this unmanned combat vehicle took place between August 22 and August 24, 2023, at the Cavalry Center, Adisorn Camp, Saraburi Province. The Defense Technology Institute (DTI) was instrumental in bringing the prototype tactical robot to the Thai military’s attention for this groundbreaking evaluation. The D-Iron tactical robot prototype is a formidable creation, drawing its inspiration from the THeMIS UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) developed by Milrem Robotics.
The D-Iron RCV itself was delivered to DTI Thailand approximately a year and a half ago by Milrem Robotics Estonia. One of the key features of the D-Iron RCV is its versatility. The vehicle, which was unveiled for the first time at the Defense and Security International Armament Show in November 2019, is equipped with a Remote Weapon Station (RWS) of the R400S-Mk2-HD turret, supplied by Electro Optic Systems (EOS) Australia. Additionally, it boasts a Northrop Grumman M230LF 30mm machine gun from the United States, which has undergone rigorous testing with live ammunition in both day and night conditions. This platform, already in service with the Estonian Defense Force and has received acclaim from numerous NATO member nations and other countries across the globe.
The recent evaluation also included trials with a prototype tactical robot version of the D-Iron, which is designed to carry various payloads, expanding its mission capabilities beyond a traditional turret-equipped configuration. Throughout the evaluation process, the D-Iron RCV showcased its prowess in handling diverse terrains, steep inclines, wide ditch crossings, deep water wading, and other challenging obstacles. These results have caught the attention of the Ministry of Defense Armament Standards Committee, paving the way for potential procurement orders and mass production in Thailand. Notably, this achievement also solidifies Thailand’s position as the first nation in the ASEAN region to employ heavily armed Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) in its defense strategy.
The THeMIS (Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System) UGV, upon which the D-Iron RCV is based, is a versatile ground-based drone vehicle primarily designed for military applications. Built by Milrem Robotics in Estonia, the THeMIS serves various roles, from a transport platform to a remote weapon station, IED detection, and disposal unit. Its open architecture allows for multi-mission adaptability, enhancing the capabilities of dismounted troops and increasing force protection and survivability on the front lines. The D-Iron RCV and the THeMIS UGV represent a significant leap forward in military technology, providing the Royal Thai Army with cutting-edge tools to bolster its defense capabilities in an ever-evolving security landscape.