Netherlands Army Fielding Turreted Mortars

Mjölner CV90 firing
Mjölner CV90 firing

The Dutch Army is joining the armies which have adopted the turreted mortar. On 12 June 2024 the Netherlands Ministry of Defence announced it was awarding a contract to BAE Systems Hägglunds for the acquisition of 15 Mjölner mortar vehicles.

The Mjölner is already fielded by the Swedish Army and consists of a turret with two-120mm mortar barrels integrated on the the Swedish Army tracked armoured chassis. The weapon system is capable of firing at a rate of up to sixteen rounds per minute. Crewmen inside the turret load standard 120mm projectiles on to trays which are then automatically loaded down the barrels. A sophisticated fire control integrated with vehicle navigation and positioning permits firing in short order after coming to a halt. The mortars have a range weapon system featuring a mortar function mounted on a CV90 chassis. Each vehicle is operated by a crew of four, including a driver, with two crewmen staging rounds for firing. The turret is equipped with two 120-millimetre barrels capable of firing up to sixteen rounds per minute. The mortars are able to fire all ammunition types including guided projectiles.

The Mjölner and other armoured turreted mortars offer battlefield advantages in the delivery of indirect fire support to forward combat units. They not only provide full protection to the crew throughout the engagement process but further facilitate not only the rapid delivery of fires but also enhance the overall survivability of the weapon system. This is inherent in that the turreted mortar requires all most no preparation after coming to a halt to be ready to fire. This differs from legacy vehicle mortars firing from an open hatch. Thus, the turreted mortar can deliver rounds often in seconds as well as respond around 360 degrees. Equipped with advanced integrated fire control systems allows these mortar systems to deliver highly accurate rounds on target in only seconds. Equally important the turreted mortar vehicle can then immediately displace and relocate to a new firing position thereby preventing it being located and engaged by opposing counterfires.

Netherlands joins the Swedish Army in fielding the Mjölner but also a number of other militaries which have are utilizing turreted mortars. These include the Polish RAK120, Patria NEMO with the Finns, Slovakian, Saudi, and UAE militaries, and recently the Ukrainian Army in combat.

In addition, in May 2024 Elbit Systems received a contract from General Dynamics European Land Systems for its Crossbow Unmanned Turreted 120mm Soft Recoil Mortar for installation on Pandur 6×6 APC wheeled armored vehicle for a European customer. The US Army has also begun to consider the turreted mortar with BAE Systems demonstrating the NEMO on its AMPV.

by Stephen W. Miller