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South Korea Announces Deployment of 120 mm Self-propelled Mortar Carrier Tracked Vehicles

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South Korea Announces Deployment of 120 mm Self-propelled Mortar Carrier Tracked Vehicles

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South Korea 120 mm Self-propelled Mortar Carrier Tracked Vehicle
South Korea 120 mm Self-propelled Mortar Carrier Tracked Vehicle

South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced the full-scale deployment of Skyfall 120 mm self-propelled mortars (SPMs) in the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) by 2025. It has signed a “follow-up mass production” contract worth KRW584 billion (USD458 million) with Hanwha Aerospace to mass-produce 120 mm SPMs and fire command vehicles. Compared to the existing 4.2-inch mortar, the 120 mm SPM has a strike range 2.3 times greater and firepower 1.9 times longer. The mortar itself can rotate 360° without rotating the vehicle to respond to target changes. In addition, the fire command vehicles can automatically calculate the shooting data, which has increased the accuracy and fire support of the vehicle. The new systems also reduced the system-operating troops requirement from 32 to 24, making the vehicles future battlefield-ready.

Republic of Korea Army Soldiers Train with Newly Skyfall 120mm Self-propelled MortarsRepublic of Korea Army Soldiers Train with Newly Skyfall 120mm Self-propelled Mortars. (Photo by dema.mil.kr)

The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) has received the first batch of a new, locally-developed 120mm self-propelled mortar (SPM) system, integrated into a K200A1 KIFV tracked armoured personnel carrier. Series production of the new SPM, development of which was completed in 2019, began in late 2020 under a five-year KRW779.4 billion ($650 million) contract, while the command post vehicles are being produced under a separate KRW101.6 billion contract. The first series-produced examples of the new integrated system, intended to replace the ageing 107mm K242-series mortars were recently delivered to army units, as were several C2 platforms, possibly the K277A1 command post vehicle. Developed by several South Korean companies, including Hanwha Defense and S&T Dynamics is stated to have a strike range 2.3 times greater than that of the ageing M30, and features automated fire-control and a semi-automatic loading systems.

Republic of Korea Army Soldiers Train with Newly Skyfall 120mm Self-propelled MortarsRepublic of Korea Army Soldiers Train with Newly Skyfall 120mm Self-propelled Mortars. (Photo by dema.mil.kr)

The self-propelled mortar carrier tracked vehicle is based on a variant of the K200A1 tracked armored vehicle developed by Hanwha Defense. Weighing under 1,400kg, the mortar has a sustained rate of fire of 3rpm, a maximum rate 10rpm for 3min and ranges of km for HE and 13km for rocket-assisted rounds, according to S&T Dynamics. Reaction time for the first round is said to be 30 seconds. The self-propelled mortar system to be used by South Korea’s mechanized military unit can carry four passengers, with a maximum speed of 70 kilometers (43 miles) per hour. With a maximum range of 12 km, it can fire up to eight shots per minute. The mortar which weighs less than 1,400 kg, has a maximum rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute for 3 minutes, a sustained rate of fire of 3 rounds per minute, and a firing range of 8 km for high-explosive rounds and of 13 km for rocket-assisted projectiles. The reaction time for the first round is stated to be 30 seconds.

Republic of Korea Army Soldiers Train with Newly Skyfall 120mm Self-propelled MortarsRepublic of Korea Army Soldiers Train with Newly Skyfall 120mm Self-propelled Mortars. (Photo by dema.mil.kr)

The K200 KIFV (Korea Infantry Fighting Vehicle) is a South Korean armoured personnel carrier, originally produced by Daewoo Heavy Industries as a domestic replacement for older armored personnel carriers, such as the M113 in front line service with the Republic of Korea Armed Forces at the time of the K200’s development. A total of 2,383 K200 vehicles of all configurations were produced between 1985 and 2006, among which are 111 K200A1 vehicles exported to Malaysia. K200A1 is an upgraded variant of the base K200 with more powerful engines and transmission. The upgrade also added NBC protection and automatic fire extinguishing system. The K200A1 is highly modular, and its variants provide additional combat supports by outfitting many different equipments.

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