The Ministry of Defence have ordered four Rheinmetall Mission Master unmanned cargo vehicles.

Configured for transporting cargo, the unmanned ground vehicles will form part of the United Kingdom’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.

According to the firm in a news release:

“The four Mission Master – Cargo vehicles will be delivered throughout the spring of 2020. In addition, the scope of supply comprises two stretcher systems that can be integrated into the cargo vehicle in just 60 seconds. The order, which was placed at the end of 2019, also includes training and service support, as well as spare parts. The vehicles will be supplied by Rheinmetall Canada, with Rheinmetall BAE Land Systems providing on-location support services in its capacity as cooperation partner.

Rheinmetall’s new Mission Master enhances the combat performance of soldiers deployed on the ground in numerous ways, say the firm. The Mission Master’s artificial intelligence  means 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.”

The firm say that the Mission Master can operate in autonomous or semiautonomous mode as a fully-fledged member of the combat team.

“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. Potential applications include surveillance, protection, evacuation of casualties, firefighting, and CBRN reconnaissance and detection. It can also serve as a mobile radio relay station.”

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What happened to british inovation and inventions! We invented everything back in the day. We should invest in British drones instead of American, invest in british robots not foreign , the list is huge..we do still invent and innovate but not like the scale we used to with life changing inventions like internet, Army “water” Tank


because the powers to be are daft for a start,second anyone inventing stuff in this country,for the mod seem to think they get a blank cheque as payment,so its cheaper to outsource stuff,infact i am quite surprised half of our gear does not come from China?


The UK is investing hugely in innovation and science and have a great new immigration system to allow talent to flock here.

What the UK lacks is sophisticated venture capitalists and the funds to invest in start ups. UK start ups have not been able to scale, I believe it’s because they are given too much support!


It’s way more complicated than that. Plenty of VC money in UK (see tech sector) but UK only military is rarely ‘investable’ Too small a market, too little scale & utterly fickle political class with zero consensus on industrial strategy.

Robert Blay

The UK is the world’s 2nd largest defence exporter, only the Americans sell more overseas. We sold £14 billions worth in 2018/19. 80% of that to the middle east. Or a 5th of the global arms sale’s. So we do innovate, and manufacture, and sell alot. 135,000 are employed in our aerospace sector alone. People should stop doing us down, and realise just what we really achieve.


Not even close to been true. if google can be believed.

Mark Latchford

Sorry Jas, I had a look at Google, and it agrees with what Robert posted….


I dunno.When you see a country of 65 million match China of 1.3 billion militarily with a land mass a thousandth its size you can’t put them down as inferior.


Looks like a coffin.

Ian M

It should be pointed out that these systems form part of a selection of UMGVs that are being evaluated by the Army in a competition, not a done deal.

700 Glengarried Men

Why is it we buy billions of £ worth of stuff from Germany but never seem to sell them anything we should have a set a side type deal we buy trucks, boxer Apc etc in return they buy UK warships or helicopters. Our economy will never recover with deals like this, sometime you have to question the mandarins at the MOD most would probably struggle in private industry


We seriously messed up with Boxer. Especially as we were part of the original design team which included Holland and Germany. Not sure of the reasons why we bailed, but oh how I laughed when I heard we were finally buying the vehicle.


The rather excellent but now (mostly) defunct Think Defence site has a break down of why the whole Boxer saga was such a cluster and how much time, effort and cash was wasted getting to where we are now.

They also have some very good items on containers and what you can do with the military…

Robert Blay

Buying a truck is a bit different to buying a warship. We have one of the largest defence industries in the world, and only the Americans sell more defence equipment abroad than we do. Not every single piece of equipment can be made in the UK, and BAE systems is still involved.


Agree with the guys, unmanned is the future, land, sea (surface and submarine) and air.
These are areas we should be investing in British companies.


You’d have thought Supacat could have come up with something like this

Daniele Mandelli

Who controls these things?

Are they pre programmed and thus autonomous or is someone nearby with a PS2 Joypad fiddling with it?

Ian M

There are a number of ways to control these things. A tether is the least complicated, the UMGV “follows” a soldier who is physically attached by a long(ish) leash. They will also have a line of sight remote with a controller and some are actually autonomous.

Daniele Mandelli

Morning Ian

Thank you. Just wondering whether this sort of thing is really needed or a diversion of resources maybe better spent on unmanned fighty platforms.

One of our infantryman here could comment.


Check out the Milrem Robotics THeMIS UGV. This is a tracked multi-role vehicle and is currently being used by the Estonain troops in Mali. The version they are using is a cargo carrier, i.e. carrying personal kit, water, fuel and ammo. It’s not as big as the Mission Master, being around 2m square. Their website shows the modes of control, such as follow me, follow pre-programmed way points etc. Due to how well they performed in Mali, Milrem have been invited to deliver 2 Themis UGVs to the Army for part of the evaluation project. Check out the following… Read more »

Mr Bell

It doesnt say how much its costing taxpayers to purchase these machines. Anyone know?

Ian M

Maybe George should have proof read the tag line; “purchases procures”?

john melling

The Mission Master UGV, firing a salvo of 14 rockets, delivering 60 kg of explosives in 1.6 seconds sounds pretty useful to me.

Whilst other Mission Master UGV are carrying gear leaving soldiers free to patrol…



One of these sounds perfect for me for carrying my backpack on my next long distance hike!


I mean does Germany make everything now?! A bloody expensive Country that finances it’s industry and create wealth unlike us! I think, I have answered my own question, but for Jesus h Christ! May be this covid-19 will highlight the UK’s short commings, but that should have been seen with the financial disaster in 2007/08 and onwards with our in-ability to recover in any decent way due to lack of real industrial power, as we did in the early 1930s when we were the top Country. Heavy industry recovered well and helped the Southern half of the Country to develope… Read more »

Mark Latchford

They’re made in Canada…..




I would not be surprised if Germans made the space hopper, even if they did not in the past! What is going on here? They should not be making anything if the were British as it would be seen as too expensive!

Barry Larking

As someone who never served (you could creep up on me in a tank) I nevertheless have slogged over mountains moors and vast wetlands enough to realise ‘boots on the ground’ wins. Keep it simple. This automation obsession is getting set to introduce ever more complexity in a situation that may not need it. These vehicles may be the answer to a base level requirement but front line? Others will speak from experience. These are ‘off the shelf’ devices to run tests without going into production at great expense only to discover the idea does not fulfil a realistic task.… Read more »


At what point will anyone actually use this stuff? Its great and could easily help units in the field but no sgt major will trust his blokes to use it. All serial item kit will still have to be carried by the man and someone will most definitely break them. The sheer amount of hi speed kit that sits in the armourys across the country collecting dust because people are too lazy to teach anyone how to use it, it’s too heavy or it cost to much to replace is absolutely criminal. These things, even if they are just for… Read more »


The tracking point system does sound pretty fantastic when you read through their bumpf. I mean they say it will place your shots shots within 0.5 inches of your aim point at .57 miles (917m). To put that into context the WW1 era Pattern 1914 sniper rifle was designed to give a marksman a 3″ group at 100 yards which equated to around 1.5 MOA. The automatic tracking system linked to the auto fire sounds like it takes the skill out of placing the shot, but it pretty much guarantees a 1 round per kill, which is unheard of, without… Read more »

John Clark

There is certainly s question to be asked regarding globalisation in relation to defence procured, but we do still buy a lot of UK sourced equipment. You have to remember that our armed forces have contracted massively in the last 30 years and if we designed and procured equipment mainly from the UK, the requirements would be so small, the cost would wipe out our entire defence budget. We have to make our defence budget go as far as possible and give the Armed forces the quality equipment it requires in a timely manner. Quite frankly, a soldier on the… Read more »