Military Review

Europe wants moving and hefty. Mortars to help

The number of mortar complexes competing for orders in the European market is growing. Many countries want to modernize or increase the capabilities of self-propelled 120-mm systems, which are standard means of supporting combat units from closed positions.

Europe wants moving and hefty. Mortars to help

BAE Systems Hagglunds will supply the Swedish army Mjolner 40 120-mm mortar tower mortars

In August, 2018, the company BAE Systems Hagglunds began for the Swedish army the serial production of the Mjolner mortar complex (Thor's hammer in Norse mythology) with twin 120-mm trunks, which will be installed on the CV90 tracked armored vehicle.

In December 2016, the company received a contract for 68 million dollars from the Swedish Defense Property Administration for the supply of 40 Mjolner complexes. The first batch of four Mjolner complexes will be delivered in January of 2019, the second batch of four complexes will also be shipped in August of the same year, then four systems will be shipped every two months.

The Swedish army originally intended to purchase AMN Advanced Mortar System 120-mm systems from Patria Hagglunds and ordered 40 new CV90 corps for this project in 2003. However, in 2008, Sweden abandoned its purchase plans due to financial difficulties and these cases were sent for storage.

Mechanized infantry battalions equipped with CV90 infantry fighting vehicles are currently armed with outdated 120-mm mortars Grk m / 41, purchased from Finnish Tampella, which are transported on trailers and taken to the ground for firing.

Hammer and anvil

In 2011, the Center for the conduct of ground combat conducted a study of the operational needs of mechanized battalions in the new 120-mm mortar system and concluded that the previous plans of the army to deploy self-propelled mortars installed on CV90 machines remain relevant. These systems will provide the best combination of mobility and protection, as well as allow you to quickly open fire and remove from position compared to the towed system.

Mjolner is served by a four-person crew - the commander acts as a gunner, two loaders and a driver, 56 mortar shots are placed in the tower. The hull will be upgraded to the current standard and, along with the turret, will be equipped with additional hinged armor.

Each of the five mechanized battalions will receive eight Mjolner complexes to equip two platoons, each system will be given an articulated BAE Systems Hagglunds Bv206 tracked carrier, which will carry additional ammunition. A platoon will be able to take a position and open fire after about two minutes and withdraw from the position after completing the fire mission within a minute (for example, a platoon of Grk m / 41 needs 10 minutes to open fire).

The Mjolner turret can also be installed on the Patria AMV (Armored Modular Vehicle) 8x8 armored vehicle, which is equipped with light mechanized battalions of the Swedish army, or similar tracked and wheeled platforms for foreign customers.

The Mjolner complex can fire with all types of ammunition available in the Swedish army - high-explosive, smoke and lighting fragmentation, as well as a Strix 120-mm mine for attack from above developed by Saab Dynamics, which is equipped with an infrared homing head (GOS) and a high-explosive warhead designed for punching the upper surfaces of MBT and other armored combat vehicles.

Since the Strix projectile was developed over 25 years ago, the army is evaluating existing arsenals or acquiring new capabilities.

The army is also considering the purchase of more effective high-explosive fragmentation ammunition, in connection with which Saab Bofors Dynamics has developed a possible solution. In September, the company launched the 2017-mm Thor mortar round, which will complement the similar capabilities of fragmentation mines of the 120 mm and 60 mm for 81-mm smooth-bore mortars.

According to Saab, having a range, 8 km Thor mine will have twice the fire efficiency compared to the traditional 120-mm high-explosive mortar mine, and the target will be affected more than the impact of the traditional 155-mm high-explosive projectile.

Mines Thor, equipped with an insensitive explosive, has an improved high-explosive component for optimal impact on such targets as buildings and light armored vehicles. When ordering, buyers will be able to choose the shape of the finished damage elements and their quantity.

Mortar complex AMOS

Finnish twins

The AMOS 120-mm mortar complex was developed by Patria Hagglunds, a joint venture of Patria Land Systems and BAE Systems Hagglunds, created in 1996 year. The first company is responsible for the tower, and the second is actually for the mortar itself. The AMOS complex is a tower with two 120-mm trunks charging from the breech; The tower weighing about 3,5 tons can be installed on tracked and wheeled vehicles of the middle class, as well as on high-speed boats.

The standard calculation of the AMOS complex includes the commander, gunner, loader and driver; Depending on customer requirements, various fire control systems (LMS) can be installed.

The high level of automation allows the AMOS complex to take the first shot within 30 seconds after stopping and withdraw from the position in less than 10 seconds. Mortar AMOS can shoot off the first four mines in five seconds, which allows you to release a sequential queue of 8 mines in the “Flurry of Fire” mode (firing mode, when several projectiles fired from the same gun at different angles reach the target at the same time) tempo of fire 12 shots per minute. The turret rotates on 360 °, and the vertical guidance angles range from -3 ° to + 85 °, which makes it possible to fire direct-fire at visually observable targets.

The Finnish Armed Forces, after conducting extended tests of four AMOS towers mounted on AMV 8x8 armored vehicles, ordered 2010 production systems in the 18 year. The body of the AMV armored vehicles are 48 shots. The army would not have refused a few more mortar complexes, but so far funding does not allow it.

120-mm smoothbore tower mortar NEMO developed by the Finnish company Patria

Patria, on its own initiative, developed a single-barrel 120-mm smooth-bore NEMO tower mortar (NEw MOrtar) as a less expensive alternative to AMOS. The modular design allows Patria to tailor its system to the requirements and budget of the customer. The 1,5 turret can be installed on a wide variety of tracked or wheeled 6x6 chassis. Also at the Eurosatory exhibition, the 2006 complex was shown on an AMV armored vehicle, in the body of which it houses up to 60 shots.

The NEMO semi-automatic loading system allows you to achieve maximum 10 fire rate per minute and maintain the rate of 7 fire per minute. After stopping the machine, the first shot is made in less than 30 seconds and after shooting the last projectile, the machine is ready for movement in 10 seconds.

Today, the NEMO complex has bought three customers. In December 2006, Slovenia became the first customer to order an 24 system along with a batch of AMV 135 armored vehicles.

In 2009, Saudi Arabia contracted 724 LAV II 8x8 armored vehicles manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada, including 36 vehicles equipped with the NEMO complex. Finally, the UAE fleet bought 8 NEMO Navy towers for installation on six of their Ghannatha class missile boats.

Patria officially unveiled its NEMO Container mortar system, which was developed in conjunction with fleet UAE The system, which is a NEMO tower integrated into a standard 20-foot ISO container, can be used to perform a variety of tasks.

NEMO Container can be transported on a speedboat, ship or truck, it can be installed to protect military bases and other important objects.

In the container Patria NEMO are placed 120-mm mortar NEMO, about 100 projectiles, air conditioning, installation of power supply, the calculation of three people and two loaders.

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 turret spins on all 360 °, the vertical guidance angles are -3 / + 85 °, and the mortar can fire in the "Flurry of Fire" mode. 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 the container when fired.

Testing of the NEMO Container system began in the 2017 year, and in September 2018 passed its tests on the ship. The mortar complex is ready for serial production, but no orders have yet been received.

Pole position

In June, the Polish army received the first batch of eight 2017-mm Rak self-propelled mortars and four commander vehicles, which is enough to equip the battery; In November, the second batch was supplied to equip another battery.

Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) was awarded a contract for 260 million dollars in April for the supply of 2016 Rak and 64 mortars for commander vehicles based on Rosomak 32XNNXX chassis (licensed Patria AMV), which were supplied under a separate contract.

HSW introduced the Rak tower, which can be mounted on any suitable wheeled or tracked chassis, at MSPO 2008, and four years later showed the Rak mortar mounted on its own tracked chassis, while the entire complex was designated M120G.

Rak Tower mounted on the chassis of the armored car Marder 1АЗ

At the MSPO 2013, HSW showed the Rak tower mounted on the Rheinmetall Marder 1AZ chassis, which allows the German manufacturer to offer a self-propelled mortar for operators of Marder machines. When installed on the Rosomak armored vehicle, the system received the designation M120K.

In the 120-mm mortar breech loading shells are fed from the rotating magazine to the 20 mortar rounds. The target is guided using the Topaz computerized LMS developed by WB Electronics. Another 26 shots are housed in the hull. Armored steel welded turret can rotate 360 °, vertical guidance angles range from -3 ° to + 80 °. Mortar Rak can produce the first shot within 30 seconds after installation and withdraw from the position in less than 15 seconds. Mortar can fire direct fire.

The Czech Army plans to start a tender for the purchase of 62 120-mm self-propelled mortars, which should be put into service in the 2023 year, replacing the weapons of the Soviet era. Preference is given to the tower system. Potential bidders are ATMOS, NEMO and RAK mortars. However, the army may consider buying a less expensive system with open hatches, for example, Alkar from Aselsan, Soltam CARDOM from Elbit Systems, or Cobra from RUAG Defense.

The Swiss army should get 32 120-mm mortar systems Cobra developed by RUAG Defense for installation on Piranha III + armored vehicles

The Swiss army received the first 32 120-mm Cobra mortar mortar from RUAG Defense. The company introduced the Cobra complex, which it began to develop in 2012, at the IDEX 2015 exhibition. A mortar on a rotary table with a mass of 1350 kg can be installed on any suitable tracked or wheeled armored vehicle and fire through open hatches. The Swiss Army chose the Piranha III + armored vehicle to install its Cobra mortar.

The Cobra complex is equipped with a computerized MSA connected to an inertial navigation system for automatic guidance, all of the mortar drives are electrical with a manual backup branch. Cobra mortar is equipped with an unloading device to reduce the calculation fatigue and increase the rate of fire, although it can be removed if necessary; the system after taking a position can take the first shot within one minute.

Rear view of a Navy Vuran armored vehicle with Alkar mortar complex

Turkish sweets

At IDEF in May 2017, the Turkish company Aselsan presented its 120-mm mortar system Alkar, originally known as AHS-120, and in December announced that it had completed the qualification tests of these weapons. The mortar was then installed on an Navy Vuran 4x4 armored vehicle.

Alkar is a muzzle-mounted mortar mounted on a rotary table, which can fire through the open hatches of any suitable tracked or wheeled vehicle or mounted on the ground to protect military installations, in this case, the mortar is powered by its own batteries. The first copy is equipped with a rifled barrel manufactured by MKEK, the same is used in the towed mortar HY-12, which is in service with the Turkish army, although if necessary a smooth-bore barrel can be installed.

The mortar can rotate on all 360 °. It is equipped with an automatic loader system, which requires only one loader to install a mortar shot in the boot device. The system is equipped with Aselsan computerized MSA, which is connected to an inertial navigation system and an initial velocity radar. This mortar complex can be integrated into the Aselsan Fire Support Automation System fire support system, radar stations detecting artillery positions and advanced surveillance systems.

The VBMR Griffon 6x6 armored personnel carrier project of the French Army includes an option equipped with an 120-mm 2R2M 4RM retractable mortar from TDA Armements. The French consortium formed by Arquus, Nexter Systems and Thales, which owns the TDA Armements, to replace the VAB 4x1722 BTR, expects to supply a total of Griffon 10 machines in at least XNUMX variants.

The French army plans to install a mortar 2R2M on the promising armored vehicle Griffon

The mortar conveyor, known under the designation MERAS (Mortier Embarque Pour l'Appui au Contact), will be equipped with a mortar 2R2M on the turntable, firing through open hatches. Developed in a proactive manner, the mortar 2R2M was bought by Italy for installation on the Freccia Xma bracters apt.

TDA Armements produces a complete line of 120-mm ammunition, including an active-missile projectile, which has a range of 13 km compared to 8 km of standard projectiles. Her experimental controlled mortar shot MGM (Mortar Guided Munition), equipped with a laser semi-active seeker will be able to hit targets at ranges up to 15 km with meter accuracy. After the approval of mass production, it is expected that MGM will go into service in the middle of the next decade.

The Soltam CARDOM mortar complex (Computerized Autonomous Recoil rapid Deployed Outrange Mortar - a computerized standalone recoil rapid deployment long-range mortar) from Elbit Systems is a combination of 120-mm smooth-bore mortar K6 of the same Israeli company with a computerized FCS.

Elbit Soltam Spear Mk120 2 mm mortar set can be installed on light machines, for example, on Plasan Sandcat

Successes Soltam

In March, 2017, Denmark became the last customer of the CARDOM complexes, having issued a contract for the supply and installation of 15 mortars for new BTR Piranha 5 with an option for another 6 system.

When installing a CARDOM mortar on an Piranha 5 armored vehicle, the ammunition load is 40 shots. The contract worth 16 million dollars includes the supply and installation of mortars, spare parts, documentation and a set of training tools; It is planned that the Danish army will receive complexes in 2019-2020 years. Since the army currently has only ground-based mortars, these supplies will significantly increase its capabilities.

Elbit offers 120-mm Soltam Spear Mk 2 mortar to customers who want a lighter solution than CARDOM, which has a rollback system that reduces 30 tons of CARDOM mortar to 10-15 tons, for example, allows Spear Mk 2 to be installed on 4X4 tons, for example , AM General HMMWV and Sandcat from Plasan.

Like the CARDOM, the Spear Mk 2 mortar is equipped with a computerized OMS, inertial navigation system and automatic guidance system. Calculating two or three people can deploy a mortar in less than a minute and in the first minute shoot off up to 16 shots. Spear Mk 2 is compatible with all types of 120-mm min for smooth-bore mortars. The Spear Mk 2 variant, shown by 2016, was sold to three European countries and several Asian countries, including Thailand.

NTGS 120-mm mortar from Alakran is designed for installation on 4x4 lightweight universal cars.

New Technologies Global Systems (NTGS), a division of Spanish Everis Aerospace and Defense, in December 2016 received an order for 100 light 120-mm mortar Alakran LMC (Light Mortar Carrier) from an unnamed customer from the Middle East. The modular system, designed specifically for customers who need a highly mobile mortar to equip rapid reaction forces, is designed for installation on light machines with a lifting capacity of 1,5 tons. The first customer chose the Toyota Land Cruiser 70 as the chassis for the Alakran LMC.

Alakran mortar on the Ukrainian project "Mobile mortar complex" was selected for installation on the Bars-8 4x4 armored vehicle

In the stowed position, the mortar is placed in a horizontal position on the cargo platform or inside the vehicle, depending on the platform, and for firing it lowers its square support plate on the ground. The mortar can rotate 120 ° and vertical guidance angles are 45-90 °.

A computerized OMS allows the mortar to be alerted 30 seconds after installation. Alakran can achieve the maximum rate of fire of 12 shots per minute and withstand a long shot rate of 4 per minute.

Upon completion of the fire mission, the machine is ready to move in 15 seconds. Ammunition is the envy of the chassis on which the mortar is mounted, but, as a rule, it is 40 shots. Alternatively, the Alakran LMC complex can be equipped with 120-mm rifled barrel or 81-mm or 82-mm smooth-bore barrels.

Eurasian team

At Eurosatory 2018, ST Engineering and Hirtenberger Defense Systems (HDS) signed an agreement on cooperation and promotion of 120-mm mortar complexes in Europe. The companies will be promoting the STAM Mortar Complex (Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System) from ST in Europe in combination with the OMS and 120-mm ammunition from HDS in Europe.

ST Kinetics demonstrated the SRAMS mortar on its own Spider 4x4 light vehicle, the rear module of the Bronco ATV articulated tracked all-terrain vehicle and the BG Teggeh 8x8, as well as on platforms from other manufacturers. Production was launched in the UAE in accordance with the 48 contract for mobile mortar systems Agrab (Scorpio) 2 mk, issued by the International Golden Group, which included BAE Systems, Denel and ST Kinetics.

The Agrab complex is a SRAMS mortar on a Denel RG-31 Mk 6 mini-protected machine (photo above). The SRAMS mortar mounted on the rear platform of the platform can be rotated 40 ° to each side of the center line. Thales South Africa Systems Digital OMS allows the calculation of three people - the commander, the driver, the loader - to alert weapon a minute after stopping the machine. Twelve shots are stacked on two racks, in two carousel stores there are also mines placed along 23.

This agreement will allow companies to meet the needs of European armies in 120-mm self-propelled mortar complexes.

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  1. merkava-2bet
    merkava-2bet 24 October 2018 07: 18
    Mortars do not give up their positions, although for me Nona and Vienna are the top of grace and efficiency. Thank you.
    1. garri-lin
      garri-lin 24 October 2018 12: 18
      So Nona and Vienna are exactly the same as described by the author. Nona is older and more primitive. Vienna is modern. It’s just time to saturate the troops with new weapons. And upgrade existing models.
    2. Megatron
      Megatron 25 October 2018 19: 12
      The mortar installation in the container is an interesting solution.
      1. Michael HORNET
        Michael HORNET 26 October 2018 15: 50
        For whom? For pirates)?
  2. san4es
    san4es 24 October 2018 09: 32
    hi In August 2018, BAE Systems Hagglunds began mass production of the Mjolner mortar complex for the Swedish army.
    AMOS 120mm mortar system was developed by Patria Hagglunds
    Patria has proactively developed the NEMO single-barrel 120mm smoothbore turret mortar

  3. san4es
    san4es 24 October 2018 10: 01
    The Swiss army received the first 32 120 mm Cobra smoothbore mortars from RUAG Defense.
    Elbit's 120mm Soltam Spear Mk2 mortar system can be mounted on light vehicles, such as the Plasan Sandcat ... hi
  4. yehat
    yehat 24 October 2018 14: 19
    I don’t understand the effectiveness of installing mortars on watercraft
    probably in rare cases this is justified, but usually there you can install a howitzer or something even more abrupt.
  5. faiver
    faiver 24 October 2018 16: 55
    what they turned a good weapon into, a mortar is good and what is simple, cheap, little noticeable, does not require high qualifications, and all these banduras are audible and visible and mobility is lower because you cannot remove a mortar from the chassis ... and ammunition is limited ... and you can’t put a village rodent in these cars (if only a driver-mechanic if a driver is a tractor driver or a combine harvester) ...
    1. strannik1985
      strannik1985 24 October 2018 17: 03
      In fact, on the contrary, KSAUO reduces the requirements for l / s.
      Good-cheap-just turns into the corpses of the supported infantry and the non-fulfillment of b / z, especially against an opponent capable of counter-battery combat.
    2. garri-lin
      garri-lin 24 October 2018 18: 24
      A mortar is good primarily because it can be thrown into a neighboring trench. And over the slope / wall. In positional warfare, a small light one is good. A mobile is better self-propelled. Flexibility, mobility, security are many times better.
  6. bk0010
    bk0010 24 October 2018 18: 09
    And how did you get that the Soltam Spear Mk2 doesn’t ruin a car when shooting from a body?
  7. Sergey-8848
    Sergey-8848 25 October 2018 20: 55
    For the Danish army:
    "... Since the army currently has only ground-based mortars, these supplies will significantly increase its capabilities ..".
    Denmark is interesting only in terms of access to the North Sea. Nobody needs a country per se, because it is only two isthmuses from one sea to another. Adolf took it clean from the side. But the show-offs of these citizens, who think that Greenland honestly have theirs, are going wild.
  8. kplayer
    kplayer 26 October 2018 18: 14
    Quote: garri-lin
    So Nona and Vienna are exactly the same as described by the author.

    Oh! The 120-mm breech-loading mortar is not the same as the 120-mm universal cannon (cannon-howitzer-mortar).
  9. riwas
    riwas 4 January 2019 05: 57
    120 mm is good, and 160 mm mobile is better.
  10. Grievous
    Grievous 21 January 2019 15: 59
    And what about the modern?