The US Army is moving ahead with a programme to buy a new 120 mm High Explosive Guided Mortar (HEGM) and replace its current precision-guided HE mortar, according to Picatinny Arsenal.
A solicitation for initial designs closed in late January, Picatinny said in a 6 March statement. It sought designs that were unique from the army's Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) that fielded mortars for use in Afghanistan but was never made a programme of record.
The army expects to "award multiple contracts later this fiscal year" and participants would "then create and deliver potential HEGM solutions" for US government testing, Picatinny added. "A full and open competition will be conducted in 2018 to select the final solution."
Officials hope to begin production in fiscal year 2021 and ultimately acquire "approximately 14,000 HEGM rounds", the army said.
Similar to AMPI rounds, HEGM is to be an all-weather mortar compatible with all US 120 mm mortar weapons and fire-control systems, but the army said it is to be "more accurate and manoeuvrable than APMI".
The APMI is required to maintain an accuracy of within 10 m at least half the time, known as circular error probable (CEP), and the HEGM's objective "is to create a round so accurate, it has a CEP of less than 1 meter", according to Picatinny.
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