CONTENT PREVIEW
Infantry Weapons

US Army advances precision-guided mortar programme

31 October 2017

The US Army’s 120 mm High Explosive Guided Mortar (HEGM) programme has progressed to a Design Qualification Phase that began with separate USD5 million Defence Ordnance Technology Consortium (DOTC) contract awards to BAE Systems, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), and Orbital ATK.

The US Army hopes to soon buy new precision-guided HEGMs, a weapon class that provides remote units with an organic precision-fires capability. (Picatinny Arsenal)The US Army hopes to soon buy new precision-guided HEGMs, a weapon class that provides remote units with an organic precision-fires capability. (Picatinny Arsenal)

The 15-month-long effort is expected to be complete by the end of October 2018 after each company flight tests a number of guided rounds.

This phase was initiated in July and August after a solicitation for a Detailed Design Phase closed in January and a Critical Design Review (CDR) report was submitted to Product Manager Precision Fires and Mortar (PM PFM).

Lieutenant Colonel Pat Farrell, PM PFM, told Jane’s that “HEGM will deliver next-generation 120 mm precision mortars providing first round effects on targets through precision enhanced lethality, while also lowering their logistics burden and collateral damage risk."

A draft request for proposals (RFP) for the 120 mm XM1160 HEGM acquisition is expected to be released in the first quarter of fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018). Officials hope to begin production in FY 2021 and ultimately acquire "approximately 14,000 HEGM rounds", the army has said.

The HEGM will be directed to engage non-line-of-sight and moving targets, while also minimising collateral damage in the battlefield.

HEGM’s performance specifications are largely secret, but Jane’s understands the objectives are for a purpose-built guided mortar round including a circular error probable of less than 1 m and more than twice the range of existing rounds when fired from US Army M120 and M121 mortar systems.

This indicates that the final solution will incorporate terminal guidance such as a semi-active laser (SAL) or an imaging infrared (IR) seeker, in addition to a GPS/INS mid-course guidance. The range objective is expected to be achieved by rocket-assisted propulsion.

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