South Korea rolls out new self-propelled 120 mm mortar system

The new 120 mm mortar system, developed by Hanwha Defense and S&T Dynamics.

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced on 4 February that an initial batch of indigenously developed 120 mm self-propelled mortar systems has been delivered to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

According to DAPA, the new 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 weighs 1,400 kg and is 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.

The new system is operated by a four-person crew comprising the driver, commander, gunner, and loader and will replace the ageing M30 107 mm rifled mortar that is presently integrated to the service’s K242A1 107 mm self-propelled mortar systems, which are derived from the K200A1 tracked armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

DAPA noted that the new mortar system will be operated alongside new fire direction vehicles. Production of the mortar systems cost around US$649 million, while the fire direction centre vehicles are worth around US$86 million.

The agency has previously stated that four major local defence companies and around 100 small and medium-sized firms participated in the 120 mm mortar development programme, making it fully indigenous.

“The 120 mm self-propelled mortar is a core asset that elevates the operational capacities of South Korean mechanized units in charge of offensive maneuver missions to another level,” Brigadier General Cho Hyun-ki, head of DAPA’s Maneuver Program Department, said in the announcement.

by Jr Ng