MSPO 2013: Rak 120 mm mortar system integrated onto Marder hull

03 September 2013
A Marder IFV armed with a 120 mm Rak automatic mortar turret was displayed as MSPO 2013. Source: Remigiusz Wilk

Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) has unveiled at MSPO 2013 its Rak 120 mm mortar system mounted on a Rheinmetall Defence Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) hull.

The Polish Land Forces are planning to purchase 75 Rak mortars - 72 across 9 company fire modules and 3 for training purposes, although it is possible this number may increase to around 180. The first eight serial production Rak mortars, installed on the wheeled Rosomak (Patria AMV) 8x8 hull, will be delivered in 2014.

The HSW-developed Rak mortar system consists of an auto-loading 120/25-calibre mortar with 20 a round magazine installed in an unmanned turret. The turret can be integrated with tracked or wheeled chassis, while an additional 40 rounds can be stored in the vehicle's hull.

Rheinmetall Defence has a long history of co-operation HSW, with Rheinmetall having supplied many parts or components to HSW; most recently 155 mm barrels for the Krab self-propelled howitzer.

The Bundeswehr is starting to withdraw the Marder from service, replacing it with the Puma IFV. Some of these Marder vehicles may be refurbished, modernised, and sold by Rheinmetall to international customers. Recently Chile bought 280 vehicles and 50 were purchased by Indonesia.

Rheinmetall lacks an auto-loading turret mortar system, and so has signed an agreement with HSW to integrate Marder hulls with the Rak mortar. The future self-propelled mortar is understood to be being offered to a current foreign user of the Marder.

Rheinmetall provided the Marder 1A3 hull to HSW just a few of weeks before the MSPO show, with this short time proving enough to integrate the turret with the chassis. The vehicle required slight alteration to install the Rak mortar, with the Polish turret requiring a larger turret ring as well as some reinforcement of the upper hull structure.

The Marder-based system has not been test fired yet, but integration is considered fully successful and stress simulations indicate it should be capable of type of fire mode without issue, IHS Jane's was told. The first test firings of the Rak system on the Marder hull are planned for November at the Polish army testing ground in Stalowa Wola.

(356 words)
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