Hanwha Aerospace, formerly known as Hanwha Defense, signed a contract with South Koreab Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) in December 2022 to mass-produce the 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar (SPM) systems and fire command vehicles for the Republic of Korean Army. The contract followed successful field tests and evaluations of the 120mm SPM for months. Nicknamed “Skyfall,” the 120mm tracked mortar system has a strike range 2.3 times greater and firepower 1.9 times longer, compared to the older 4.2-inch mortar. The Skyfall 120mm self-propelled mortar 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.
The new mortar system – developed by Hanwha and S&T Dynamics – features a computerised fire control system (FCS) and a semi-automatic loading system. 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. 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar has fully-automated firing processes from calculating firing specification to reloading and firing. Also, it can rapidly respond with highly accurate rifled-barrel. The command vehicle can automatically calculate the shooting data, which helps increase 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.
The 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar (SPM) systems automated digital fire control system allows for much faster target acquisition and time-on-target (TOT) firing. 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 120 mm self-propelled mortar is a core asset that elevates the operational capacities of South Korean mechanized units.
The 120mm Self-Propelled Mortar (SPM) systems are derived from the K200A1 tracked armoured personnel carriers (APCs). The K200 KIFV (Korea Infantry Fighting Vehicle) is a South Korean armored personnel carrier, originally produced by Daewoo Heavy Industries as a domestic replacement for older armored personnel carriers, such as the M113. 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. Since 2009 the K200 has been supplemented by the K21. 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.