Army, BAE Systems Unveil the Future Mortar Firing Platform

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The U.S. Army and BAE Systems today unveiled the first Future Combat Systems (FCS) Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Mortar Firing Platform. The NLOS Mortar is being designed by BAE Systems to transform the traditional role of the mortar on the battlefield by providing greater crew survivability and enhanced fire support for infantry forces. NLOS Mortar is designed for breech loading, to allow firing the weapon under the protection of the vehicle's armor, rather than having an open firing platform as is common on today's self-propelled mortar platforms.

The vehicle mounts an automated, single-tube, 120-mm smoothbore turreted mortar. The NLOS Mortar Firing Platform is being delivered to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, where it will undergo test firing to confirm the reliability of its advanced armament technologies, such as automated ammunition storage and handling, breech-loading, in-bore air regulation system (IBARS) and automated mortar cooling system (AMCS) subsystems. Following the testing phase at Camp Ripley, the firing platform will be upgraded with an early prototype of the entire mission module equipment suite, which will have 80 percent commonality with the NLOS Cannon whichis already undergoing firing tests. The mission module will then be tested at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona.

Non-Line-Of-Sight-Mortar, one f the close combat elements for the US Army FCS system
The AMCS keeps the mortar tube cool to enable high rates of fire for long durations. It also ensures the tube is clean at all times to reduce soldier work load and increase system responsiveness. BAE Systems engineers incorporated the patent-pending IBARS technology, which allows soldiers to fire mortars at low angles to increase effectiveness and flexibility. It also provides a safe method for extracting misfired rounds without endangering the crew.

The FCS development schedule calls for the first Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) Mortar prototypes to be delivered in 2011 for testing with an FCS Army Evaluation Task Force, and Low-Rate Initial Production scheduled to begin in 2014. The following timeline outlines the current development milestones demonstrating the system is on schedule.

The NLOS Mortar is one of eight manned ground vehicles being designed and built as part of FCS - the Army's premier modernization program comprising a networked, fully integrated family of manned ground vehicles, unmanned ground and air vehicles, and sensors. BAE Systems is the Future Combat Systems Lead Systems Integrator (LSI) team of Boeing and partner Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC).

 


 

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