Ground Warfare

US Army Yuma Proving Ground Testing NeMo Modular Turreted Mortar System (MTMS)


US Army Yuma Proving Ground Testing NeMo Modular Turreted Mortar System (MTMS)

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Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) is testing a cutting-edge Modular Turreted Mortar System (MTMS). According to Kevin Irr, a test officer from the Munitions and Weapons Division, intensive evaluations are currently underway to ensure the MTMS system meets performance expectations for an upcoming demonstration at the Maneuver Warfighter Conference at Fort Moore in September 2024. Installed on an Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), this new mortar (NeMo) turret is a semi-automated, single-barrel 120mm breech-loaded mortar system and has long captured the interest of the Army for its potential to bolster operational capabilities. A vehicle commander oversees its operation, while two crew members are needed to load the turret. Since Soldiers will be operating the NeMo at the demonstration, ongoing safety testing holds significant importance.

Testing on the weapon system began in January and is projected to wrap up by July. Furthermore, a demonstration test will be carried out at YPG to pinpoint any potential issues or to fine-tune procedures before the AMPV-mounted weapon is sent to Fort Moore. The safety testing focuses primarily on two critical areas, as outlined by Irr. Foremost, the Army is assessing the impact of vehicle operation on auditory health to protect soldier’s hearing. Mortar systems produce high-intensity noise during firing and prolonged exposure can result in hearing damage. Additionally, prioritizing the buildup of toxic fumes within the vehicle, which may result from weapon firing and engine exhaust, is another top priority. Irr emphasized the critical need to manage these fumes effectively to safeguard the lives or crew members.

US Army Yuma Proving Ground Testing NeMo Modular Turreted Mortar System (MTMS)
Installed on an Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, the Modular Turreted Mortar System (MTMS) is a semi-automated, single-barrel 120mm breech-loaded mortar system. (Photo by U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground)

“We are diligently verifying its advertised capabilities and making sure it is safe for the Soldiers to operate. Additionally, we’re conducting several other tests to gauge the weapons system’s overall operability. It is a prototype. This turreted system has undergone prior testing here on a different vehicle. During those tests, it piqued our interest and garnered some attention,” Irr explained.

“The U.S. Army is interested in the MTMS’ capability to shoot on the move, perform direct fire missions, as well as its capability to conduct Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) missions,” Capt. Mike Hapner from the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems stated.

This integration onto the AMPV is part of a multi-phase foreign comparative test in which the Army initially evaluated the system’s capability on a foreign vehicle using U.S. ammunition. To evaluate its viability, a thorough comparison test was designed, subjecting it to the rigorous conditions at YPG. Recognizing the system’s promise, the decision was made to evaluate it on a U.S. vehicle, specifically the AMPV. The AMPV was chosen because it maintains an objective requirement to replace the Mortar Carrier Variant with an automated MTMS. This feature fills a notable gap in the U.S. Army’s current inventory, as there isn’t currently a mortar system with this capability. If it does ever get fielded, it would be the only mortar system in which U.S. Soldiers are protected inside a vehicle.

Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) with unmanned turreted mortar
Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) with Patria NEMO remote-controlled 120mm turreted mortar system. (Photo by BAE Systems)

The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) is a U.S. Army program to replace the M113 armored personnel carrier and family of vehicles. In 2014, the U.S. Army selected BAE Systems‘ proposal of a turretless variant of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle to replace over 2,800 M113s in service. The program is essential to the future of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) and will fulfill the Army’s strategy of protection, mobility, reliability, and interoperability. The AMPV will be integrated with the ABCT and is required to operate alongside the M1 Abrams tank and the M2 Bradley. The Army has identified the AMPV as its top priority for the safety and survivability of soldiers and therefore meets tough protection requirements. The AMPV leverages aspects of the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and M109A7 self-propelled howitzer, furthering commonality in the ABCT fleet of vehicles.

NEMO (from “NEw MOrtar”) is a single barrelled 120 mm remote-controlled mortar turret currently being developed by Patria Land Oy in Finland. Patria NEMO is able to fire Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) fire missions where up to 6 grenades hit the target simultaneously. Turret and armoured chassis protect the crew against ballistics, mines and IED threats and battlefield contaminants within the protection level of the platform vehicle. It is a lighter version of the AMOS mortar system, which has been in use within the Finnish Defence Forces since 2013. The NEMO can be fitted to light, tracked chassis or wheeled armoured vehicles in the 6×6/8×8 class or Navy vessels. Patria NEMO can be used for self-defence and various indirect fire missions. Impressive fire support and rapid response with high crew protection – all in one.

Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) with Patria NEMO remote-controlled 120mm turreted mortar system. (Photo by BAE Systems)
Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) with Patria NEMO remote-controlled 120mm turreted mortar system. (Photo by BAE Systems)

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