Precise guidance systems were usually reserved for sophisticated weapons like missiles and aircraft bombs, which used intermediate guidance technologies like GPS and inertia for the middle course, while terminal guidance was ensured by laser or electro-optical systems.
However, now this technology is available for ammunition as compact as 120mm mortar shells. The Israeli company Elbit Systems, together with the Israeli Ministry of Defense, has unveiled its Iron Sting iron mortar ammunition, which combines GPS guidance and lasers (semi-active laser or SAL) for indirect mortar fire, which is available at the tactical level.
Recently, the Department of Defense Research and Development and Elbit Systems launched the Iron Sting mortar bowl, a 120mm mortar shell. Thanks to its guidance system, it offers a high level of precision that enables safe use in asymmetrical combat and promises to reduce collateral damage.
It is a precise, network-integrated fire system, as was recently demonstrated in a final test in southern Israel, in which it was used from two 120 mm mortars. different, a Soltan mounted on an Israeli army M113 tracked vehicle and a light spear mounted on a Humvee SUV.
The Iron Sting ammunition has a range of up to 12 km, depending on the type of mortar. It reports a 1 meter probable circle error (CEP) while its warhead has piercing, squeezing and fragmenting effects. Its security enables three functions: in detonation mode at a specific point (point detonation or PD), delay (point detonation delay or PDD) and proximity (PRX).
For the Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the integration of the iron engraving into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is part of Tnufa’s multi-year plan. It also meets the needs of the IDF by adapting combat capabilities to deal with enemies hidden among civilians in urban environments while meeting the legal and moral standards set by the State of Israel, “explained Gantz. After these final tests, the ammunition was already able to be used for mass-produced the IDF, and even providing battalion-type tactical units with capacity previously only available in the form of missiles or aircraft bombs.
Elbit Systems already had mortar ammunition such as the Stylet in its catalog, which we could see at the Spanish fair FEINDEF. It is a mortar around also 120 mm. but with only GPS guidance, which differs from the iron engraving of the precise terminal guidance by the laser. The stylet was originally developed by Israel Military Industries (IMI) prior to its acquisition by Elbit Systems and has a range of 8 km. and a Probable Circle Error (CEP) of 10 meters. It is also characterized by its modular warhead, which can be optimized for different targets (structures, vehicles, or explosions in open space), as well as its detonator, which allows the choice between explosion by impact or surface.
It remains to be seen what capacity the warhead has available, which is not in vain with some developments. The introduction of sophisticated guidance systems can reduce the combat load, which can reduce the effectiveness of the fire, although the accuracy is noticeably increased. (Jos M Navarro Garca)
Photo: The iron stab grenade during the demonstration (Elbit Systems)
The mortar used in the tests on M113 (Elbit Systems)
The grenade with GPS stiletto guidance at the last FEINDEF trade fair (author)
Laser and GPS guidance in a 120 mm mortar shell. (Elbit Systems)
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