Ukraine bought Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs with 120 mm mortars

MADRID, SPAIN — Ukraine will receive a small batch of Toyota Land Cruiser all-terrain vehicles equipped with the Alakran mortar in the 120 mm version, designed by the Spanish company NTGS. The vehicles are already on their way to Ukraine, as confirmed by various sources familiar with the operation. The order is about half a dozen units.

Ukraine bought 'desert-type' Toyota SUVs with 120 mm mortars
Photo credit: Wikipedia

The Ukrainian army already knows what it’s like to work with this mortar. Kyiv once acquired six of these systems on an armored 4×4 Bars-8 platform from the local company Ukroboronservice. At least some of these vehicles were destroyed in the early days of the Russian invasion.

Especially this version of the Alakran installed in the Land Cruiser is called a “desert-type” mortar system. The off-road SUV is suitable for the sands of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the first customer who wanted the integration of 120mm mortars on the Toyota Land Cruiser. The Arabs bought 100 units years ago.

How does Alakran work?

The mortar remains inside the vehicle during trips 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 continuous firing at maximum load without transmitting effort to the vehicle that transports it.

Photo credit: European Security & Defense

As explained by the manufacturer, the entire operation of deploying, aiming, firing at two different targets, withdrawing, and leaving a position is done in just over a minute. Specifically, it can go into action and fire two 120mm mortar rounds in 67 seconds, then switch to another position before the enemy battery can fire back.

The base configuration of the system includes a crew of three and includes up to 60 120 mm mortar charges and associated components. It also has computerized shot control equipment with a flat-screen. The Alakran mortar has a claimed maximum range of 7,180m for its HE grenades.

Ukrainian industry has also developed a 120 mm laser-guided mortar shell, which is equipped with a high-explosive high-explosive warhead and slightly increases the range to 7,500 meters. A year and a half before the start of the Russian invasion, in mid-2019, Ukroboronservice released a video of tests with Alakran mounted on its armored vehicles.

In the latest versions, it also integrates an auto-aiming system that includes proprietary GIS [Geographic Information System] technology and an open BMS [Battle Management System] for joint use of various Alakran units along with target identification elements. The system also allows the mounting of a mortar with a smaller caliber of 81 mm.

Quick operations

Ukraine uses 120mm Alakran MMS mortars deploying in seconds
Photo credit: InfoDefensa

The big advantage is his ability to act and get out of the picture quickly. The vehicle is ready to fire in 35 seconds and back on target after firing in just eight seconds. It can be retracted in 25 seconds.

Operation from the cockpit and outside the vehicle is made possible by the inclusion of a proprietary fire control system that displays its location and that of assigned targets and includes a ballistic calculation system for multiple types of ammunition. The range varies from 6.5 km with 81 mm to 8 km with 120 mm.

It has a wide fire capacity, firing 12 shots in the first minute and four in sustained fire. It is prepared to work in harsh 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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