Spanish companies Everis Aerospace and Defense and New Technologies Global Systems (NTGS) have announced a new cooling system for their Alakran light mortar carrier.
The new development was in response to a customer request, Leon Bitar, Everis' vice-president for defence systems, told Jane's at the IQPC Future Mortars conference in London on 24 October 2018.
As a result, it had been designed and then tested by firing four rounds per minute for up to 20 minutes without the barrel temperature rising above 100°C, Bitar said. Without the system, this would have resulted in a barrel temperature of over 500°C.
A barrel temperature of 180°C could result in the propelling charge igniting after 15 seconds and a 220°C temperature could cause instantaneous ignition. To reduce the temperature, the new system incorporates a sleeve around the barrel that generates a mist of 100-micron water droplets that evaporate and cool the barrel at a rate of 1,000 Kcals per minute, equivalent to 0.4°C per second.
Dissipating heat without the use of a cooling system can be slow, and regular firing can increase barrel temperature rapidly with firing five rounds in two minutes generally resulting in a rise of over 40°C, according to Everis' briefing materials.
The Alakran is a 120 mm mortar with a range of up to 8.2 km. It can be integrated onto a range of wheeled platforms that have a stated maximum payload of 1.5 tonnes without any need for structural reinforcements.
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