Artillery units looking for a mobile rapid fire mortar system that allows them to “shoot and scoot” before coming under enemy fire now have a solution following comprehensive cooperation between Austrian mortar company Hirtenberger Defence Systems (HDS) and Singapore’s ST Engineering Land Systems.
The system offered by the two companies combines HDS’s mortar fire control system and 120 mm mortar ammunition with ST Engineering’s 120 mm Super Rapid Advanced Mortar System (SRAMS). HDS precision engineered its 120 mm ammunition to specially work with the SRAMS, which both companies said was a key differentiator from competitors' systems.
HDS says says the combined system addressed a capability gap in its portfolio. “We had the qualified ammunition,” said Carsten Barth, vice president of sales and marketing at HDS, “but we were missing a mobile capability.”
Barth says the combined system is likely to appeal to European customers, specifically NATO affiliated countries. “We see a lot of need for mobile indirect fire systems in Europe,” he said. “By having a semi-automatic loading system, you can reduce crew numbers, which is important for European customers. The precision of our ammunition and increased lethality means you can have more impact with less rounds. There are also no limitations on linking it with battle management systems, so it is very open and flexible for customers.”
Chor Kiat Tan, senior vice president/general manager, design and manufacturing at ST Engineering Land Systems stressed the importance of the rapid-fire aspect of its SRAMS, which offers artillery units the ability to “shoot and scoot” before the enemy fired a counter round. “Normally, you have about three to five minutes before the enemy returns fire. The weapon’s automatic Ammunition Loading System fires 10 rounds a minute, so with a high rate of fire, you can achieve the same effect as if you had two platoons.”
The SRAMS can be mounted on a tracked carrier or a 4x4 vehicle, and at 26 ton, with a low recoil force, it can be carried on most light vehicles or transported by a standard helicopter.
Both companies described their cooperation as a real industrial partnership which will see them work together on several future projects, details of which they could not disclose. “The future is about partnership,” said Tan. “We wanted a partner for the long run. Hirtenberger is a well-established, very reliable company. We found we complement each other well.”