12:00 AM, June 25, 2009
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Rheinmetall AG of Düsseldorf has just been awarded a €54 million contract to equip the German armed forces with a state-of-the-art mortar system. The system’s newly developed 120mm mortar track and associated support vehicles make an important contribution to the mission-oriented modernization of the Bundeswehr armoury. This important order encompasses eight Wiesel 2 (“weasel”) vehicles, each of which is armed with a 120mm mortar (lePzMrs). An option exists for an additional two vehicles configured for a command and control role, and worth some €7.5 million. Delivery is slated to take place in 2011. Combining impressive firepower with advanced command and control technology, Rheinmetall’s highly mobile Mortar Combat System significantly enhances the Bundeswehr’s combat effectiveness, enabling it to respond to new threats in situations where it has hitherto often lacked the necessary capabilities. On the international plane, this state-of-the-art system places the Bundeswehr on the global cutting edge. Based on Rheinmetall’s tried-and-tested Wiesel 2 lightweight tracked armoured vehicle, various configurations of which have already been successfully fielded, the air-portable Mortar Combat System is specially designed to support infantry and airmobile operations in scenarios where protection is required. It supersedes obsolete, manually operated Tampella-type mortars, which have long since ceased to meet today’s operational needs. Furthermore, some existing stocks of mortar ammunition are now over 25 years old, and thus no longer authorized for use. The vehicles just ordered constitute a mortar platoon which will be used to support ongoing operations in Afghanistan. In particular, the system is expected to play an important role in countering asymmetric threats to Bundeswehr bases and convoys in this challenging area of operation.
Thanks to its enhanced range, heightened precision and optimized lethality, the system also lends itself to operations in difficult terrain and in urban areas. The complete Mortar Combat System can be airlifted in a CH-53 cargo helicopter or Transall C 160.
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