Ukraine uses 120mm Alakran MMS mortars deploying in seconds
SPAIN, ($1=0.88 Euros) — After weeks of escalating tension, Russia has crossed the border into Ukraine and launched a full-scale attack. Kyiv has declared martial law and deployed all its means to try to stop the Russian offensive – including reserve forces. Among the Ukrainian Army’s material, there is a system developed in Spain, the Alakran 120 mm on-board mortar from the company Ventura Defense [formerly NTGS], based in the municipality of Collado Villalba [Madrid], learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing IndoDefensa.
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The system has been in service in the Ukrainian Armed Forces since 2019 installed on the armored 4×4 Bars-8, a platform of the local company Ukroboronservice, which also carried out the integration of the mortar in the vehicle. However, the commercial operation was closed two years earlier in 2017, according to the file on sales of defense material from the Swedish institute Sipri.
This is the only weapon exported in recent years by the national defense industry to Ukraine. It must be remembered that Spain maintains a veto on the sale of defense and dual-use material that affects both Ukraine and Russia.
The solution is called UKR-MMS [Ukrainian Mobile Mortar System]. The mortar remains inside the vehicle during journeys and is deployed from the rear of the vehicle using an electromechanical actuator. In a few seconds, it rests on the ground on a square base that stabilizes the platform and allows sustained firing at maximum load without transmitting effort to the vehicle that transports it.
According to the manufacturer, the complete operation of deployment, aiming, firing at two different targets, withdrawal, and abandonment of the position is carried out in just over a minute. Specifically, it can spring into action and fire two 120mm mortar rounds in 67 seconds, then switch to another position before the opposing battery can fire back.
The base configuration of the system has a crew of three and incorporates up to 60 120mm mortar charges and associated components. In addition, it has computerized shot control equipment with a flat-screen. The Alakran mortar has a stated maximum range of 7,180m for its HE grenades. Ukrainian industry has also developed a 120mm laser-guided mortar shell that is equipped with an HE fragmentation warhead and slightly increases the range to 7,500 meters. In mid-2019, Ukroboronservice released a video of tests with half a dozen such systems.
In the latest versions, it also integrates an automatic targeting system that includes its own GIS [Geographic Information System] technology and an open BMS [Battle Management System] for the joint use of several Alakran units together with target identification elements. The Alakran has also been evaluated by the Spanish Army within the experimentation phase of the Fuerza 2035 project. The tests took place in the Legion Brigade, a unit selected to test the materials of the future Army brigade. The system has also been acquired by Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region such as the United Arab Emirates have tested it.
The vehicle is ready to fire in 35 seconds and ready to aim again, after firing, in just eight seconds. It is capable of retracting in 25 seconds. Operation is possible from the cabin and outside the vehicle by incorporating its own fire management system, which shows its location and that of assigned targets and includes a ballistic calculation system for multiple types of ammunition.
It has a wide fire capacity, making 12 shots in the first minute and four in sustained fire. It is prepared to operate in wild and desert environments and has protection against solar radiation, dust, and water, to which must be added an integrated weather station. It can also be installed in a vehicle weighing more than 1.5 tons without structural reinforcements and can be transported by helicopter.
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