Firepower from France [ID14D2]

06 November 2014

Although known mainly as a key supplier of radars and other sensors, Thales (Hall D, Stand D204) can also provide firepower solutions with its TDA (previously Thomson Brand Armements) subsidiary supplying a complete family of mortars as well as their associated suites of ammunition, fire control systems (FCSs) and equipment for the forward observer.

The most mobile and effective system is the TDA 120mm 120R 2M recoiling rifled mortar, which can be integrated into a variety of tracked and wheeled platforms.

The 120mm 120R 2M is typically mounted in the rear of the platform and is coupled to a computerised FCS and land navigation system.

This enables the system to come into action rapidly, lay the mortar onto the target and carry out a fire mission before it can be detected by threat sensors.

Mortar elevation is from +42 to +85° and traverse is through 220° using a joystick and associated flat panel display. The mortar is muzzle loaded using a load assist device and firing a standard 120mm high explosive (HE) mortar bomb. It has a maximum range of 8,135m, which can be increased to 13,000m using a rocket-assisted projectile (RAP).

As well as the 120mm HE mortar bombs, other natures include illuminating, smoke, anti-armoured personnel carrier and training.

The system is being adopted by an increasing number of countries including Italy, Malaysia, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Malaysia has fitted the system into the FNSS ACV-19 (Armoured Combat Vehicle 19 tonne), while Oman has it integrated in re-rolled VAB (6x6) vehicles.

The 120 12R 2M is ballistically identical to the TDA 120mm MO-120-RT towed rifled mortar, which is in use by more than 20 countries. This includes the US Marine Corps, which calls its complete system the Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS). One light 4x4 vehicle tows the mortar; another carries a supply of ready-use 120mm ammunition.

In some countries these 120mm mortars are deployed by the infantry, while an increasing number of users are now allocating these mortars to the artillery as they have additional target acquisition capabilities, which is essential for engaging targets at long range. The French Army MO-120-RT mortar is towed by VAB (4x4) vehicles.

(360 words)