Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #26

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Page 12 of 159

O ne could ask a question that may seem to be ridiculous at first - why should we not look at Rak as a direct competi- tor for classic towed mortars? Why the cheap, highly mo- bile weapons offering a high rate of fire should be left out of the equation. Leaving the armament class aside, this happens because over the upcoming decades we would expect mass withdrawal of towed 120 mm mortars from NATO mechanized and motorized units because their survivability is way below acceptable. Modern battlefield saturated with surveillance assets, drones, counter-fire radars and air assets and with the enemy having strong artillery and numerous MLRS at his disposal, is a hazardous environment. Thus, solely the artillery that remain able to move constantly would be the only units standing a chance of survival. Time between fir- ing the first round until the moment when the asset leaves the position and moves ~500 meters away should be shorter than 5 minutes. In perfect world it would be less than 180 sec. For 120 mm towed mortars these conditions are virtually impossible to be met in real life. At the same time, 60 and 82 mm mortars will still be used as an infantry support weapon at the platoon/company level. The main threat for them? Support weapons of the adversary. The self-propelled mortars (or mortar carries) can be split into two groups. The first is turret-based mortars also capable to provide direct fire. This group includes Soviet/Russian designs, such as: 120mm 2S9 Nona, 2S23 Nona-SVK, 2S31 Vena, 2S34 Khosta and 2S42 Lotos, Polish RAK, Swedish AMOS, NEMO and MjĂžlner, and the legacy BAE Systems AMS. The second group includes mor- tars based on APC platforms (tracked and wheeled ones). With exclusion of the Czechoslovak PRAM-S, the group is dominated by standard mortars installed on rotating bases, in troop compart- ments of IFVs or APCs. These includes currently developed muz- zle-loaded mortars with automated targeting systems installed in APCs and shooting the rounds through open hatches in the roofs. However, none of the designs above is capable of direct fire. Any direct competitors out there? The question above may seem ridiculous. However, having a clos- er look at the Rak platform and its competitors, it does not remain ungrounded. However, Rak is the only mortar that features a fully automatic loader that can be operated regardless of elevation and turret position. It also offers a constant realistic 8 rounds per min- ute rate of fire. Furthermore, it also features the most advanced fire control system coupled with sensors. The vehicle has also been fitted with a soft-kill active protection system. The Rak also entails a proven system, that is delivered in a form of a "fire mod- ule" - a full suite of vehicles that remains operationally autono- mous. Not only does it provides capability to attack the enemy and to crush him with firepower, as the module also features dedicated AWD command vehicles, AWR recce vehicles, AWA ammunition carriers and AWRU repair/recovery vehicle. The elements form a system, thanks to which survivability, firepower and operational capabilities of the Rak are all multiplied. Not only does Rak exhibit a number of unique features or major capabilities, it also comes along with the most expansive set of support vehicles delivered VEHICLES

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