Ground Warfare

Royal Netherlands Army Acquires Mjölner Mortar Vehicles

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Royal Netherlands Army Acquires Mjölner Mortar Vehicles

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Royal Netherlands Army Acquires Mjölner Mortar Vehicles
Royal Netherlands Army Acquires Mjölner Mortar Vehicles

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has announced the replacement of its 81 mm mortars with the sophisticated 120 mm Mjölner mortar vehicles. This transition marks a substantial upgrade in terms of firepower, range, and operational efficiency, positioning the Netherlands at the forefront of ground-based fire support within NATO. The Mjölner mortar vehicle is an advanced weapon system integrating a mortar function onto the robust CV90 chassis. The vehicle’s turret is armed with dual 120-millimetre barrels capable of firing up to sixteen rounds per minute. This high rate of fire, coupled with a range of 7-12 kilometers, significantly surpasses the 6-kilometer range of the older 81 mm mortars, offering enhanced tactical advantages on the battlefield. One of the most notable improvements is the integration of modern C4I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) systems and GPS-guided munitions. These technologies ensure that the Mjölner system is not only faster but also far more accurate, enabling precise strikes and reducing the risk of collateral damage.

The transition from the 81 mm mortars, which require manual setup outside small Fennek reconnaissance vehicles, to the mounted 120 mm mortars on the CV90 chassis marks a leap in operational safety and efficiency. The CV90’s stronger armour offers superior protection, allowing soldiers to operate the mortar system from within the vehicle, thus minimizing exposure to enemy fire. Moreover, the CV90 chassis provides ample space for personnel, ammunition, and equipment, enhancing the overall operational readiness and sustainability of Dutch mechanized units in diverse combat scenarios. The Netherlands’ adoption of the Mjölner system is part of a broader mid-life upgrade (MLU) of its CV90 fleet, a project spearheaded by the Dutch industry and scheduled for completion by 2026. This comprehensive upgrade ensures that the CV90s remain operationally relevant until the end of their service life in 2039. The recent completion of the first upgraded vehicle underscores the progress and commitment of the Netherlands to maintaining a cutting-edge military force.

CV90 Mjölner mortar system
CV90 Mjölner mortar system. (Photo by BAE Systems Hägglunds)

The Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90) is a family of Swedish tracked armoured combat vehicles designed by the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), Hägglund & Söner and Bofors during the mid-1980s to early 1990s, before entering service in Sweden in the mid-1990s. The CV90 platform design has continuously evolved from the Mk 0 to the current Mk IV with technological advances and changing battlefield requirements. The Swedish version of the main infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is fitted with a turret from Bofors equipped with a 40 mm Bofors autocannon. Export versions are fitted with Hägglunds E-series turrets, armed with either a 30 mm Mk44 or a 35 mm Bushmaster autocannon. Developed specifically for the Nordic subarctic climate, the vehicle has very good mobility in snow and wetlands while carrying and supporting eight, and in later versions six, fully equipped soldiers. Other variants include forward artillery observation, command and control, anti-aircraft, armoured recovery vehicle, electronic warfare versions and so forth.

The Royal Netherlands Army’s fleet of 128 CV9035NLs, originally part of an order that saw an increase to 193 vehicles, stands as a testament to their commitment to modern armored warfare capabilities. Completed deliveries by 2011 underscore their readiness posture. The recent Mid Life Upgrade order in 2021, focusing on integrating advanced technologies like the Spike LRII anti-tank guided missile, highlights their proactive approach in enhancing combat effectiveness. This move not only bolsters their armored capabilities but also aligns with NATO interoperability standards, ensuring they remain a formidable force in regional security contexts. The sale of 44 CV9035NLs to Estonia in 2014 further demonstrates their strategic flexibility and commitment to fostering defense cooperation among allies.

CV90 Mjölner mortar system
CV90 Mjölner mortar system. (Photo by BAE Systems Hägglunds)

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