South Korean army deploying upgraded 81 mm mortar system

by Gabriel Dominguez & Thomas Ford & Dae Young Kim

The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has begun deploying an upgraded version of its locally developed 81 mm mortar system, according to South Korea's Defense Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA).

Delivery to RoKA units of the upgraded system, which is now in series production, began in June, noted DAPA in a 29 July statement.

A screengrab from footage provided by DAPA showing soldiers using South Korea's upgraded 81 mm mortar system. (DAPA)

A screengrab from footage provided by DAPA showing soldiers using South Korea's upgraded 81 mm mortar system. (DAPA)

Referred to as the ‘81 mm Mortar-II', the weapon, development of which began in December 2014 and was completed around August 2019, is not only 20% lighter than its predecessor, thus enabling greater mobility, but also requires fewer personnel (four instead of five) to operate.

The advanced mortar system uses laser and Global Positioning System (GPS) technologies to identify the location of the targets and calculate the mortar settings, thereby increasing the speed and accuracy with which rounds can be delivered on to target.

The system, development of which was led by South Korean company Hyundai WIA, uses a combination of components. This includes a handheld set of digital binoculars that is used to identify targets and combines GPS functionality with rangefinding equipment to allow the user to ‘tag' an enemy position through the optics. This information is then transmitted to the mortar fire-controller, who confirms the target location and mortar-laying settings, with the information then sent to the mortar gunners.

Replacing the optical sight on the previous mortar is a laser system that allows for rapid adjustment and setting of the mortar, providing much faster set-up times.

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The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has begun deploying an upgraded version of its locally developed 8...

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