As the world is growing in demand for heavy mortar complexes, let's briefly consider the development of industry, including the conclusion of large contracts, as well as the emergence of new products and the signing of new agreements.
In many armies of the world, mortars in general are considered the most operational weapons of firing from closed positions, since they are regular at the level of a combat group and therefore available when other weapons of indirect pickup are not available. As a result, interest in self-propelled 120-mm mortar systems is growing in the market.
In May of this year, around 50, Polish artillery instructors took a course on familiarizing themselves with the new Rak self-propelled 120-mm mortar complex, which was conducted by the specialists of the manufacturer Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW). A total of 13 months before, in April 2016 of the year, the Polish government signed a contract with the company on the 64 tower Rak, mounted on the Rosomak 8xXNNXX chassis, and 8 commanding machines. Deliveries are scheduled from mid-32 to the end of 2017.
HSW first showed the Rak tower at MSPO 2008. An 120-mm breech mortar with an automatic loading system is aimed at the target using the computerized fire control system (FCS) developed by the Polish WB Electronics. Mortar Rak can launch the first projectile 30 seconds after stopping and withdraw from the position in less than 15 seconds. The turret rotates through all 360 °, and the vertical pointing angles range from -3 ° to 80 °. Mortar can also fire direct fire. The tower is all-welded, made of armor steel, provides protection against small-arms fire. weapons and shrapnel 155-mm shells.
Rak tower mortar is designed so that it can be mounted on any suitable tracked or wheeled chassis. At the MSPO 2012 exhibition, HSW introduced the Rak, mounted on a self-developed tracked chassis, with the entire complex being designated M120G. When installed on the Rosomak chassis, the complex is designated as M120K.
The Polish government has signed a contract with HSW for the production of 64 mortar towers mounted on the Rosomak chassis 8x8
In December 2016, the company BAE Systems Hagglunds received a contract worth 68 million dollars from the Swedish defense procurement administration for the supply of XJUMN Mjolner (Thor's hammer in Norse mythology) 40 double-barreled mortar for installation on CV90 tracked vehicles. The ground fighting center of the Swedish army conducted a survey of operational requirements for the 2011-mm mortar system in 120 to support mechanized battalions equipped with CV90 tracked infantry fighting vehicles, and concluded that the self-propelled mortar would provide the best combination of mobility and protection, as well as faster occupation and removal from the position compared to the towed system.
The Swedish army originally intended to purchase the Patria Hagglunds 120-mm AMOS (Advanced Mortar System) mortar complex from the company and ordered the CV40 chassis for this 90 project. The joint venture of Finnish Patria Land Systems and Swedish BAE Systems Hagglunds was created in 1996 year to develop and promote the AMOS system, the first company responsible for the tower, and the second for the entire complex. AMOS is a double-barreled 120-mm mortar of a government-loaded loader weighing about 3,5 tons, intended for installation on wheeled and tracked vehicles of the medium category.
The turret rotates at all 360 °, and the barrel has pointing angles from -3 ° to + 85 °, which allows you to use a gun for direct fire with the aim of self-defense and shelling targets at short distances. Depending on customer requirements, various MSAs can be integrated into the tower. Standard mortar crew consists of a commander, gunner, operator and gunner. The high level of automation of the AMOS mortar allows you to start shooting 30 seconds after stopping and withdraw from the position 10 seconds after the completion of the firing mission. A mortar can shoot five shells in five seconds, make eight shots in MRSI mode (multiple rounds of the simultaneous impact - “Flurry of fire” - shooting mode, when several shells fired from one gun at different angles reach the target at the same time) and withstand firing rates during long Firing 12 fires per minute. The AMOS mortar is installed on several types of platforms, including AMV (Armored Modular Vehicle) 8x8 and CV90, as well as patrol boats. In the body of the AMV armored car is placed 48 rounds of ammunition.
In 2006, the Finnish armed forces received four AMOS towers on the AMV chassis for testing, and in 2010, they ordered 18 serial systems and would like to have even more of these systems as soon as funds are allocated. In January, 2016, Estonia bought the 35 CV90 chassis from Norway for conversion into various combat and rear support options in order to complement the CV90 infantry fighting vehicle already in service; local observers suggest that some of them will be equipped with AMOS towers.
The AMOS double-barrel tower mortar weighing about 3,5 tons is designed for installation on medium wheeled and tracked vehicles
The budget problems in 2008 forced the Swedish army to cancel their plans to purchase AMOS mortars and the CV90 corps were sent to storage, but still they did not leave their desire to replace the outdated 120-mm mortar GrK m / 41 towed. BAE Systems Hagglunds proposed to develop Mjolner so that the army could have a less expensive alternative to AMOS mortar. A company spokesman said that this mortar would be an "easy but reliable solution."
Although few details have been made public, it is known that Mjolner will have a manual loader system for two twin muzzle loaders. His maximum rate of fire will be 16 rounds per minute, he will be able to fire with all standard 120-mm mortar shots, including the Strix-controlled saab from Saab Bofors Dynamics, which has been in service with the Swedish army since 1994. The mortar will serve the calculation of four people, including the driver.
It is expected that each of the five mechanized battalions will receive eight systems to equip the two platoons. Deploying the double-barreled system will actually double the firepower of the battalions. For foreign customers, the tower can be mounted on wheeled and tracked chassis.
The universal high-speed boat Watercat M12 was developed by Alutech Marine for the Finnish Navy.
The Finnish company Patria also recognizes the attractiveness of a less expensive alternative to AMOS, and therefore has developed a single-barrel 120-mm tower mortar NEMO (New Mortar). The modular design allows Patria to tailor its solution to the needs of a specific customer and its budget.
The tower weighing one and a half tons can be installed on a wide variety of tracked and wheeled chassis 6x6. At the Eurosatory 2006, for the first time, a NEMO mortar mounted on an AMV armored vehicle was shown, in which standard ammunition from 50 to 60 shots can be placed. A semi-automatic loader system can reach a maximum rate of 10 fires per minute and maintain a steady rate of fire for 7 shots per minute. After 30 seconds after stopping the machine, the first shot is fired and the vehicle is again ready to move through 10 seconds after the last shot is fired.
The Saudi National Guard became the starting buyer for the Patria machine when it placed an order in 2009 for 724 on the LAV II 8x8 machines from General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, including 36 machines equipped with a NEMO mortar. The UAE fleet bought eight NEMO Navy towers for installation on six of their Ghannatha class missile boats.
In February, at the IDEX exhibition in the UAE, Patria officially unveiled a container version of its 2017-mm NEMO tower mortar. “We started working on this system more than 120 years ago and even received a patent for it. This concept now meets the needs of customers, ”said the vice-president of the arms department at Patria.
The NEMO Container system is a standard 20x8x8 ft container, in which NEMO 120-mm mortar is placed, around 100 shells, air conditioning, power supply installation, calculation of three people and two loaders.
The container can be transported by truck or ship to any place, and if necessary, the fire can be opened from these platforms. This is a very useful protection tool for advanced bases or coastal defenses.
The 120-mm smooth-bore mortar can fire various ammunition, including high-explosive fragmentation, smoke and lighting, to a maximum range of 10 km. The NNO 120-mm mortar set also has very useful direct-fire capabilities.
If necessary, the NEMO container can be equipped with a system of protection against weapons of mass destruction and anti-bullet protection. In the second case, it can be ceramic tiles or steel plates with a thickness of 8-10 mm, but then the weight of the system increases by about three tons.
For its new role, the standard ISO container can be strengthened with an additional support frame between the outer and inner lining that absorbs the recoil forces.
When transporting a 120-mm Mortar NEMO is not visible behind a special shipping cover. When deployed for firing, the turret rotates 180 ° so that the muzzle is positioned beyond the edge of the container in order to avoid unnecessary loads on it when fired.
The container itself is produced by Nokian Metallirakenne, a Patria installs a NEMO mortar, calculation jobs with computers, controls, cables and seats.
Most recently, Patria conducted the Nemo Container in Finland on an off-road Sisu ETP E13 8x8 truck, as well as autonomously, from the ground. These tests focused mainly on verifying the integration of the Nemo mortar system into the sea container - in other words, testing the interface of the tower mortar system and the 20-foot sea container. In addition, another important part was the inspection of the Patria Nemo Container interface and the Sisu ETP E13 8x8 chassis.
The NEMO Container system is a standard 20-foot container that holds the NEMO 120-mm mortar
US Army in Search of New Managed Mortar Ammunition
The US Army wants to get into service 120-mm high-explosive fragmentation guided mortar shot HEGM (High Explosive Guided Mortar), capable of hitting targets with circular probable deviation (CWE) one meter. It will replace the Orbital ATK’s HM395 MGK (Mortar Guidance Kit) guidance kit, developed for the APMI Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (Accelerated High Precision Ammunition Initiative) to meet the immediate operational requirements for high-precision strikes in Afghanistan. The APMI project from ATK was selected in April 2010 of the year, and a year later the first batch of XM395 shells was deployed in Afghanistan.
XM395 combines GPS guidance and steering surfaces in one set. This kit replaces standard fuses, transforming existing 120-mm mortar rounds into precision guided munitions. This approach, based on the use of the previous construction (and not on re-creating it), has reduced the schedule and cost of development
The MGK GPS-guided kit replaces the standard 120-mm mortar shell fuse. An improved induction fuze installer and fixed steering surfaces are screwed into the nose, while cylindrical charges are installed in the tail section of the projectile to increase range and unfolding stabilizers to ensure the stability of the projectile in flight.
“The APMI decision was a revelation to our soldiers in Afghanistan,” said Anthony Gibbs, project manager for mortar systems and mortar weapons at Picatinny Arsenal. “It allowed to meet the urgent needs for a high-precision projectile at military posts scattered throughout the country, and today it is available to our entire army.” We are going to upgrade existing technology and incorporate next-generation upgrades into HEGM, such as increased firepower and improved silence resistance. ”
The APMI requirements provided for the QUO 10 meters, which means that 50% of the shells will fall within 10 radius from the target. Insisting on a semi-active laser hover, the army is looking for a HEGM projectile, which will reach the QUO less than a meter and will be able to adjust its trajectory in flight with the aim of hitting moving targets.
In the autumn of this year, the US Army plans to issue several contracts, each worth about 5 million dollars, to develop and supply potential HEGM test solutions that will last 18 months. The manufacturer of the selected solution will have about 15 months to finalize the design, which will then pass through the one-year qualification stage. If everything goes according to plans, then the army plans to begin production of the first 14000 shells of HEGM in 2021.
Open hatch solutions
The Danish army chose a system with open hatches to meet its needs for an 120-mm self-propelled mortar. In March, 2017, the army, became the most recent customer of the CARDOM (Computerized Autonomous Recoil Rapid Deployed Outrange Mortar) mortar complex - a computerized, autonomous, retractable long-range rapid-deployment mortar of the Israeli company Elbit Systems Soltam, when the Danish defense procurement organization announced that the Austrian ESL Advanced Information Technology (Elbit division) will supply 15 mortar complexes with an option of six more for installation on new Piranha 5 8x8 armored vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS). With the CARDOM mortar installed, the Piranha 5 will house the 40 rounds of mortar rounds.
The 15 million-dollar contract includes the supply and integration of weapons, spare parts, documentation, and a training package. In the Danish army, they expect to start deploying mortar transporters on the basis of Piranha 5 in 2019 year.
The CARDOM system is a combination of the Soltam K120 6-mm smooth-bore mortar, a rotating platform, a computerized SLA and a rollback mechanism that reduces the load when fired. In the first minute, a queue of 16 shells may be fired, after which a steady rate of 4 rounds per minute is maintained.
The largest exporter of CARDOM is the US Army, which installed it on its M1129 Stryker armored vehicles and mortar transporters with a double V-shaped body M1252 Stryker. Since 2003, more than 400 mortar systems have come into service. Each of the nine army mechanized brigades “Stryker” organizationally includes three motorized infantry battalions Stryker, each of them has a mortar platoon with four armored M1129 / M1252, while each of the three motorized infantry of the battalion is equipped with two mortar transporters.
The American Army's Stryker armored vehicle is shooting from a mortar at the Grafenviour training center in Germany
In 1990, in order to equip its light and heavy forces, the American army chose Soltam K6 mortar as its battalion mortar complex. Lightweight infantry brigades are equipped with the M120 Towed Mortar System towed mortar, while the M121 mortar mounted on the M1064AZ tracked vehicle for firing through the open hatch is armed with heavy armored brigades. Each combined arms battalion of these brigades incorporates a platoon with four M1064AZ mortar transporters.
Both the mortar transporters, the M1064AZ and the Stryker, are equipped with the M95 / M96 Mortar OMS supplied by Elbit Systems of America, which combines a fire control computer and an inertial guidance and positioning system, which allows the crew to open fire in less than a minute and significantly increases the effectiveness and accuracy of the mortar , as well as the survivability of the crew.
The Israeli army with the 2007 also operates a Soltam CARDOM mortar of the year. Under the designation Hatchet, it is installed on the upgraded armored vehicle М113АЗ; deliveries of this system continue.
Another contender for the Danish claim was the Cobra 120-mm mortar, which RUAG Defense first showed at IDEX 2015. A smooth-bore mortar on a turntable can be mounted on various tracked and wheeled armored vehicles for firing through open hatches. It is equipped with a computerized MSA, connected to an inertial navigation system to provide automatic guidance. The mortar is equipped with electric drive and manual backup branch. In addition, there is an auxiliary loader, which reduces the load on the calculation and increases the rate of fire, which can be removed if necessary. Cobra mortar can start firing a minute after stopping the machine. It also has a built-in learning system, for which an 81-mm insert is inserted into the barrel.
Coag 120-mm mortar Cobra company during the test
The Swiss Army is the starting customer for the RUAG product, ordering 32 systems installed on Piranha 3 + armored vehicles with XDUMX 8 configurations from the GDELS company to equip four divisions. Deliveries are scheduled for 8-2018 years.
At IDEF 2017 in Istanbul, the Turkish company Aselsan presented its new 120-mm mortar system AHS-120 on a turntable, which can be installed on various wheeled and tracked armored vehicles. The copy at the exhibition was equipped with a rifled barrel manufactured by the state-owned company MCEC, although a smooth-bore barrel can be installed upon request. The AHS-120 mortar has an automatic loader system and is equipped with a computerized Aselsan MSA connected to an inertial system and an initial speed radar.
Rheinmetall Landsysteme has developed and markets its own 120-mm mortar complex Mortar Fighting System, based on an elongated version of the Wiesel 2 tracked armored vehicle. A 120-mm smoothbore mortar, externally mounted on a swivel support at the rear of the machine, serves a three-person calculation. The mortar is lowered into a horizontal position, the loader feeds projectiles into the barrel, while the rest of the crew remain protected by armor. The system can open fire after stopping in less than a minute and fire three rounds in 20 seconds. In the conveyor Wiesel 2 ton mass 4,1 is placed ammunition 30 shots; It can be transported in the cabin of the CH-53G multipurpose transport helicopter.
After successfully testing two prototypes in 2004, the German army in 2009 ordered a full platoon kit consisting of eight pre-production mortars and two control points (also based on the extended Wiesel 2), as well as four Mungo 4XXNNXX ammunition vehicles. Due to reduced funding, the army could not order additional systems and a single platoon was transferred from infantry to artillery, where these systems were put into storage as an alternative to heavy tracked 4-mm / 155 self-propelled PzH52 howitzer for possible deployment abroad.
Mortar system Spear Mk2 on a Plasan Sandcat light armored car
Variety of systems
There are several 120-mm mortar systems that are designed for installation on light machines. At the Indian exhibition Defexpo in March 2016, Elbit Systems presented the 120-mm mortar complex with low recoil forces Soltam Spear Mk2 - the second generation of the Soltam Spear mortar, first shown at Eurosatory 2014. Mortar muzzle loader Spear, based on the CARDOM mortar, is distinguished by a recoil device that reduces the CARDOM recoil forces from 30 tons to 10-15 tons, which allows it to be installed on such lightweight 4X4 armored cars, such as HMMWV from AM General and Spanish UROVESA VAMA VAMA Mortar Spear Mk2 mounted on a light armored Plasan 4x4 Sandcat.
Like CARDOM, the Spear Mk2 complex is equipped with an SLA, a battle management system and an inertial navigation and guidance system, which increases the autonomy, fire power and accuracy of the system. Target information is transmitted over the management system network to the SLA, which calculates the location of the target; Thus, the trunk can be guided correctly in azimuth and elevation by “one push of a button”. According to the manufacturer, the Spear Mk2 mortar is compatible with all types of 120-mm mortar ammunition. A calculation of two to three people can deploy a mortar in less than a minute and shoot a line of 16 shells in the first minute. Sources at Elbit reported that the Spear Mk2 system was sold to three customers from Europe and Asia.
Singapore-based ST Kinetics launched production of the 120-mm Rapid Advanced Mortar System Rapid Advanced Mortar System for the United Arab Emirates in accordance with the contract issued by the International Golden Group in February 2007 of the Year (consists of ААЕ Systems, ST Kinetics and Denel) on 48 mobile mortar Agrab complexes (Scorpio) Mk 2.
The Agrab complex is a SRAMS mortar mounted on a Denel RG-31 Mk6E 4x4 minenhough machine. Mortar SRAMS shoots in the rear arc with a maximum rate of 10 shells per minute. It has a relatively small recoil force of 26 tons, the actuators provide horizontal guidance angles ± 40 degrees and vertical guidance angles from + 40 to + 80 degrees. Using a computerized MSA from Thales South Africa Systems allows you to reduce the calculation to three people, the commander, driver and loader, as well as start shooting a minute after the car stops. Twelve shots are stacked in two racks, two more carousel magazines contain 23 projectiles. The Agrab contract provides for the supply of ammunition from Rheinmetall Denel Munitions and improved conventional ammunition from ST Kinetics, which delivers 25 dual-purpose attack elements to the maximum range of 6,6 km. STK has demonstrated the ability to install the SRAMS mortar on the rear module of the Vgopso articulated off-road conveyor, Spider 4xNNXX light vehicle and Teggeh 4xXNNX BTR, as well as HMMWV armored car.
In December, 2016, the Spanish company New Technologies Global Systems, received a launch order for its 120-mm lightweight mobile mortar Alakran Light Mortar Carrier (LMC), which was designed specifically for those customers who need a highly mobile mortar for rapid response units. The modular system is designed for installation on lightweight universal vehicles with a tonnage of 1,5. In the process of developing the mortar was installed on cars Agrale Marrua, Jeep J8 and Land Rover Defender. The unnamed overseas customer who chose the 70 Toyota Land Cruiser 100 chassis to install the Alakran LMC mortar on it, will receive 15 mortar complexes starting from the end of this year on XNUMX systems per month.
When transporting, the mortar is laid horizontally on the cargo platform of the vehicle, and before firing it lowers until the square support plate rises to the ground. The mortar can rotate in the 120 ° sector and in elevation on the 45-90 °, is aimed at the target using an electromechanical system, and in the event of a power failure using a back-up manual drive. Modern digital OMS allows you to open fire in 30 seconds after stopping the machine.
120-mm Alakran self-propelled mortar (light mortar carrier - LMC) on Land Rover Defender chassis
Alakran can reach the maximum rate of fire of 12 shots per minute and withstand the tempo of fire 4 shots per minute for a long time. Upon completion of the fire mission, the machine is ready to move in 15 seconds. As an alternative to a smooth-bore mortar, the LMC complex can be equipped with an 120-mm rifled mortar, as well as an 81-mm or 82-mm smooth-bore.
Until the end of this year, the Brazilian army intends to issue a request for information on the vehicle-mounted 120-mm mortar system for installation on its new VBTP-MR Guarani 6x6 armored vehicles. In November 2016, the army ordered the Guarani 1580 machines, of which 107 will be configured as VBC Mrt-MR (Viatura Blindada de Combate Morteiro-Media de Rodas) mortar transporters. The Brazilian unit of Elbit, ARES Aeroespacial e Defesa, appear to offer CARDOM system and Spear Mk2, whereas competing systems, are likely to become Alakran from NTGS, HKM120 from Hyundai WIA, SRAMS by STK and 2R2M from TDA Armements.
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