The US army has finally decided to improve it’s mobile mortars. They have announced their goals to develop a turreted mortar system for their vehicles, with a completion target of 2021. Let’s break down what they’re looking at:
- Caliber: 120mm
- A manned or unmanned turret
- Autoloading system must accomplish loading rounds from ready rack into the breach.
- Ideally all ammunition handling would be automated
- Vehicle should be able to stop moving and fire within one minute of getting a fire mission
- Project will investigate being able to shoot on the move
- Maximum rate of fire (sustainable for one minute): 16 rounds/minute required, 24 rounds/minute ideal
- Sustained rate of fire: 6 rounds/minute required, 12 rounds/minute ideal
- System should have a direct-fire capability
- System should be compatible with all existing 120mm mortar ammunition
- Maximum range should be at least 5 miles
- Minimum range should be 220 yards (direct fire)
Patria’s NEMO system comes close to meeting the above requirements, but would need some work to meet the short-term maximum rate of fire requirements. AMOS should be able to do the rate of fire goals given its twin barrels. My one worry is that the perfect would be the enemy of the good enough. Big Army should just pick an off the shelf system (probably the reasonably priced NEMO) and start slapping them on Strykers and AMPVs and call it a day. Have a couple beers and some wings in Alexandria. Any such turreted system is going to be a significant improvement in survivability for the mortar crews, and should also provide improvements in effectiveness. Don’t overcomplicate this.
My only worry is that congress will force Big Army to use an American contractor for the sake of supporting jobs in certain districts. AMOS or NEMO seem pretty ideal otherwise.
Apparently the Saudis and the UAE have already taken delivery of NEMO, and might have sent it into battle in Yemen. I wonder what their experience with it has been, but undoubtedly their debriefs aren’t public. Perhaps the US might have access to some of their data for use in our own procurement.
This is true. One could easily set up a factory here and/or work with e.g. General Dynamics to slap their logo on the bid.
Historically we tend to be close to the Saudis and could get some data, or maybe even some to play with. We may have Poland to thank for this; the desire seems to have started after Big Army did some exercises with the Polish Raks.