Frag Out! Magazine

Frag Out! Magazine #26

Frag Out! Magazine

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Page 14 of 159

are hazardous for the crew off-road (each of the hatches weighs 180 kilograms and the locking mechanisms can easily fail). Meanwhile, simplified procedure aimed at lowering the RMS6L barrel and clos- ing the hatches takes 15-20 sec. The mortar itself has a range of 180 to 6700 m - relevantly shorter than in case of other designs. Due to the tight crew compartment and ergonomics, the horizontal rotation range available for the mortar is limited. The crew is not protected from the weather or WMD. Undoubtedly however, M1064 or M1129 are better than their towed counterparts, mainly thanks to the short period of time required to leave their firing position. This makes them suitable for areas where counter-battery fire is present. Nevertheless, open crew compartments are a source of significant disadvantages. And this is a conclusion that has been reached after the operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, where counter-fire is virtually non-ex- istent. The growing momentum and intensity of operations impose a major load on the troops, thus solely fully automated, autonomous and net-centric systems will be able to effectively carry out the mis- sions. And systems of this type would be the only ones that could survive on the battlefield, especially when placed against an enemy who outnumbers own forces. The above has not been left unnoticed by the Americans who are planning to replace the M1064 and M1129 systems with a turret-based mortar, with a fully automated loading and rounds storage system - a platform that would be a counterpart of the Polish Rak system. This shows where the future belongs to. As it might be noticed, self-propelled muzzle-loaded systems on open platforms cannot really compete with turret-embedded auto- matic mortars. Thus, if one was to compare the designs, one should focus on systems as such that are in development or that have been introduced into service already. Russian/Soviet and Swedish designs should be considered then. USSR When the Soviet systems are taken into account one should be aware that thy are 3 decades old. Their design is a result of a search for a replacement of StuG-class systems and for artillery that could be used by the airborne units. As a result, a search was initiated for a sys- tem that could replace both the anti-tank guns, as well as the classic artillery. 120 mm 2A51 gun-mortar (2S9 Nona), with a rifled barrel and with breech loading mechanism came in as a solution. The key was to create new ammunition that would be as effective as the 122 mm and 152 mm rounds. As the Russian/Soviet airborne units wanted the new system to be backwards-compatible with the 3OF34 and OF843 mor- tar rounds, it was decided to seal off the breech with a pneumatic ram- mer that had a diameter of the chamber and fitted with a seal. Then it was locked by the vertically-moving breech lock. Thus, it was possible to utilize any kind of 120 mm mortar rounds in this system. A new kind of rounds was also developed, like artillery rounds with rifling on VEHICLES

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