Thales’ mortar production facility at La Ferte-Saint-Aubin will deliver the first of its 120 mm Rifled Recoiled Mounted Mortars (2R2Ms) to the Nexter Roanne production facility in the last quarter of 2021. Mounted on various types of armoured carriers, the 120 mm 2R2M is fully protected while on the move and ready to fire as soon as the vehicle stops. The 120 mm 2R2M weapon system is suitable for various types of wheeled or tracked armoured vehicles. Various countries including Italy, Oman or Malaysia have already chosen the 120 mm 2R2M to equip their elite troops.
The Thales 120 mm Rifled Recoiled Mounted Mortars (2R2Ms) can fire 10 rounds within one minute, with improved accuracy compared to the RT towed version, and can then start moving and close the top doors at the same time. The turntable-mounted mortar can be traversed through 360°, with an elevation of 40–85 º under hydraulic power. It is coupled to a Thales computerised fire-control system (FCS), automatic laying system (ALS), and inertial navigation system (INS). The 120 mm 2R2M is mounted in the rear of the Griffon and fires through power-operated roof hatches.
The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) awarded a sixth contract amendment on the SCORPION programme to the consortium formed by Nexter, Arquus and Thales. The so-called MEPAC (Mortier Embarqué Pour l’Appui au Contact, Mounted Front-Line Support Mortar), covers the delivery of 54 additional GRIFFON VBMR multi-role armoured vehicles equipped with Thales’ 120-mm Rifled Recoiled Mounted Mortar (2R2M) system. When retracted, the Griffon fitted with the 2R2M appears almost identical to the standard Griffon APC.
The Thales mortars are masterpieces of modern industrial technology. Since the times of Edgar Brandt, the company has built thousands of mortars of different calibres and delivered millions of mortar shells to a lot of different armed forces. Thales rifled and smooth-tube mortar systems offer unrivalled build quality. They have an undetermined lifetime and, in theory at least, will last forever. The weapons can be remanufactured multiple times and are designed to accommodate the latest technical improvements to maximise ease of operation.