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Subject: Interesting article on mortars.
Aussiegunneragain    8/9/2008 11:35:30 PM
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doggtag    overall not a bad article, but could use some updating...   8/10/2008 1:09:44 PM
...otherwise, not bad indeed.
The thing that still always gets me is,
here we have the country of South Africa,
who ages ago found themselves under numerour western embargoes and sanctions,
only to establish for themselves an artillery industry second to none.
While the US gloats on and on about its new lightweight M777 (no offense, ArtyEngineer) and the lightweight
38-cal tube that will fit the highly-automated NLOS-C,
we have a South African designed gun with a 52-cal length tube, firing a South African designed family of ammunition,
to phenomenal ranges (when compared to US tubes), exceeding 50, even 60km.
To top that off,
we now see a 60mm mortar built by the South Africans that just outranges the favored 81mm in US inventory,
and a South African 81mm mortar than comfortably outranges any other 81mm mortar design in service (any other in-service designs that I can dig up, anyway).
(Of course, the accuracy of these longer ranged mortars, when compared to other western systems, is still surely debatable.)
Seems that we (western nations who imposed embargoes and sanctions) stabbed ourselves in the foot on this one.
Coupled to these latest fire control systems that implement everything but the kitchen sink,
these would be the peak of perfection in mortar system development.
Another interesting tidbit is,
even at 5935m, the UK/US 81mm mortar doesn't achieve the ~6500m of the Soltam 81mm mortar.
Strange that the US doesn't hesitate to adopt the Soltam 120mm mortar, yet is slow to consider the achievements of their 81mm series.
Anyone have any information on the range capabilities of the new Inconel 718 alloy barrels?
(meaning: are we going to see the lighter material allow us longer barrels to gain range increases, but at similar weights to older designs with shorter tubes,
or are we just going to lighten the weight and be content with the current ranges we achieve, whilst foreign forces may express more interest in these longer-ranged designs?)
...I figure it's only a matter of time before we see more interest in developing PGK-type artillery shell fuzes built for mortar rounds.
We don't necessarily need accuracies measured in inches, but impacts/airburts of several meters closer can make a lot of difference for a number of targets.
...Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a 10-figure grid coordinate give you a location down to the meter? (see the paragraph concerning the British Army's LH40C Target Locating Equipment.)
I realize that every nation's infantry/close fire support doctrine differs,
but if you can obtain close fire support capabilities,
with systems that can provide it more quickly,
and without the need to crawl up the chain of command to get authorization,
or to actually have to call for support from farther away units, 
and all without the expense of larger caliber towed and SP systems,
doesn't it seem both the logical and economical coice to pursue these latest mortar systems with their considerably improved capabilities over a lot of earlier, and still in service, systems?
I'm not suggesting we can replace all artillery with just mortars altogether,
but for a lot more situations, it's seeming like we don't always need the bigger, more expensive tubed systems to do the job.
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ArtyEngineer    Doggtag   8/10/2008 1:30:53 PM
No offense taken mate ;) I think me and you are tracking on our concerns with where the US Arty field is heading.
Regarding a 10 digit grid, yep you are correct. in the Military Grid Reference System (MGRS) 10 digits defines a 1m x 1m square.
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