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South Korea readies 120 mm self-propelled mortar system for production

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 9 September that it will award a five-year contract worth 770 billion won (US$648 million) in the fourth quarter of 2020 for the mass production of a new 120 mm self-propelled mortar system for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

120 mm mortar system
The new 120 mm mortar system, developed by Hanwha Defense and S&T Dynamics, features a computerised fire control system (FCS) and a semi-automatic loading system. These aids enable the mortar crew to launch a variety of mortar bombs at a sustained rate of fire of up to 3 rounds per minute, or a maximum rate of fire of up to 10 rounds per minute for up to 3 minutes.

The rifled mortar itself is also mounted on a turntable that can traverse 360° and can elevate between 45° and 70°, engaging targets as far as 8 km away with standard high-explosive projectiles or up to 13 km away using rocket assisted projectiles.


Modernisation

The new system will replace the ageing M30 107 mm rifled mortar that is presently integrated to the service’s K242A1 107 mm self-propelled mortar systems currently in service with the RoKA, which are derived from the K200A1 tracked armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

It will be operated by a four-person crew comprising the driver, commander, gunner, and loader.

Developed by several South Korean companies, including Hanwha Defense and, for KRW41.3 billion, the integrated mortar system, which can rotate 360°, is stated to have a strike range greater than that of the ageing M30 107 mm rifled mortar it is expected to replace.

Production

Production is expected to commence immediately after contract award, with the first examples entering RoKA service from 2021.

DAPA noted that the new 120 mm mortar system features fully indigenous technologies developed by small and medium enterprises and could potentially be exported.

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