AMPV Turreted Mortar Received by US Army

AMPV Nemo
AMPV Nemo

BAE Systems has provided the prototype of its Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) mortar variant integrating the Patria/Kongsberg NEMO 120 mm turreted mortar to the US Army. 

The delivery announced by BAE on 6 March 2024 is one of five variants that the Army has identified it requires to fill tactical mission needs. The new mortar vehicle is the result of a close collaboration between the Army, BAE, and Patria/Kongsberg. Bill Sheehy, BAE Systems AMPV program director stated that “The AMPV Turreted Mortar prototype was born from a capability discussion we had with the Army in 2022.” The new system offers enhanced fire support and survivability capabilities in its design and functionality over traditional vehicle mounted mortars.

The AMPV is being fielded to replace the M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier in combat support roles. The M113 was first fielded in the 1960s which included two mortar versions, one with an 81 mm mortar and another with a 120 mm mortar. The NEMO mortar remotely operated turret integration was facilitated by BAE’s development of an innovative External Mission Equipment Package (ExMEP). This top plate system fitted to the AMPV allows for the easy installation of a variety of turrets.

The Army present plans have been to procure the M1287 Mortar Carrier Vehicle. This is the M121 120mm mortar mounted in an AMPV configured similarly to the M113 mortar variants, the M106 and M125. Both have the mortar positioned on a turntable in the rear compartment that requires a roof hatch to be opened to then manually fire the weapon. The firing crew is exposed, the vehicle must be stationary to fire, and both loading is firing control is done manually.

The AMPV NEMO has the 120 mm mortar in a remotely controlled turret which is operated and loaded by the crew from inside the protection of the vehicle armour. It can traverse 360 degrees allowing not only engagements in any direction but also by both indirect high angle fires and precise direct fire. Being fully stabilized with digital automated fire controls the NEMO can accurately fire even while moving.

In addition, the system is capable of executing Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) engagements. In this the crew is able to rapidly fire up to rounds where all rounds strike the target at the same time. The necessary weapon adjustments are automatically made by the fire controls. The AMPV NEMO has an effective range of ten kilometres with conventional rounds and can fire the fully array of NATO 120mm ammunition. It is also able to engage using indirect including MRSI, and direct fires with the vehicle is stationary or moving.

Both the AMPV and the NEMO have been field proven and are mature in production systems which the NEMO already in service with a number of militaries. They offer a low-risk approach to significantly enhancing maneuverer unit tactical fire support and in addressing critical lessons-learned from the Ukraine war. The US Army will be evaluating the AMPV NEMO over the coming months.

by Stephen W. Miller