Army Contracts For GPS Guided Mortar Round

After fast tracking the selection process, the Army signed a contract with Alliant Techsystems (ATK) to speed delivery of a 120mm GPS guided mortar round to troops in Afghanistan. The Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) was a response to an urgent request for precision mortars from commanders in Afghanistan. The new GPS rounds should be in the field by November.

— Greg

14 Comments on "Army Contracts For GPS Guided Mortar Round"

  1. November, I thought the pull-out was timed for December?. They are leaving it a bit late to be of any use. It would be better to wait until they are in Yemen before they do proper trials. The emeny there are less sophisticated and organised, so the results shold be far better.

  2. Given upcoming massive cuts in defense spending, will we be able to afford enough of these rounds to make much of a difference. They have to be expensive.

  3. "Given upcoming massive cuts in defense spending…"

    What massive cuts are those that should be given?

  4. Byron Skinner | April 26, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Reply

    Good Morning Folks,

    This will put a world of hurt on the bad guys. Now fast track the 81mm round and the 60mm rounds. The 81mm GPS guided round has already been successfully tested on Hunter and Predator “Warrior” UAV’s ay White Sands, so there would seem to be not much to be done getting it to the field.

    Byron Skinner

  5. As a former 11 Charlie, I support this message.

    However, GPS is no reason not to bust the whole grid square with fire when there is no question about COB's being in the line of fire. Allah might akbar, but HE and WP shakes and bakes.

  6. US Army Retired | April 27, 2010 at 12:04 am | Reply

    What brilliant IDIOT came up with this high dollar idea. Mortars are INDIRECT fire and to do anything other than provide a barrage of fire is ignorant. With the kill radius what it is the mortar don't have to be precise and was never intended to be. That's the very reason we put rifling in our gun barrels. We have many other weapons that are intentionally accurate. The mortar is not one of those guns. This is an expensive stupid idea that some comany came up with to make millions or billions off of our government. It just shows the intelligence of our leadership. This is an assbackward idea just like the oxymoron of military intelligence. Probably another one of our brilliant military officers.

  7. As a former cav troop ammo nco anything that lets the mortars do that voodoo that they do so well with fewer resupply runs is a good thing. Means more beer, Crapgame would love it.

  8. Trent Telenko | April 27, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Reply

    The military procurement cross over point for "all smart" is when the cost of GPS guidance of a shell or bomb is about a 10-15 times the cost multiple of a proximity or multi-function time fuse (about $300-$1000 dpending on the capability and the total numerical purchase).

    Once you start producing a lot of GPS "fuse replacements" at $10k-$15K per unit, the logistical pay off of being 100% smart pays for itself in terms of diminished logistical supply chain costs.

    We have reached that with point 120mm mortar precision guidance kits and have passed it with 155mm precision GPS "fuse kits" and 100% purchase of guided rockets for the MLRS/HIMARS launchers.


  9. Trent Telenko | April 27, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Reply

    By way of background, there was a huge problem getting time and proximity fuses for artillery in the mid 1990's because the end of the Cold War in 1989 killed military fuse purchases for a few years. During that dead time, the industrial base sources for military time and proximity fuse components went off-shore.

    When the Army went to buy a new generation of fuses in light of what it learned from Gulf War 1, they found this out the hard way. New mechanical time fuses were not possible and affordable hardened electronics for the role were not there yet. This significantly upped the price of the new generation of multifunction artillery fuses due to the development involved and the smaller than Cold War numbers purchased.

    If you have to go that route anyway, the delta difference between an advanced multi-function fuse and a low end GPS precision guidance kit is not that much and precision guidance covers many rules of engagement sins in terms of protecting careers higher in the command chain.

  10. Trent Telenko | April 27, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Reply

    Now that the US Army's 120mm mortar shells will get a GPS fuse kit of it's own in 18 months or less, this will cause changes in Taliban tactics that will result in further calls from units in Afghanistan for 81mm and 60mm mortar GPS guidance kits inside of two years.

    Once the US Army has guided 81mm and 60mm mortar shells, it will be a very short time until it's Shadow and Raven class UAV's start lugging on of the above around.

    This trend has a lot of interservice implications for things like Close Air Support.

    Some old military hands would still like to use slide rules and quadrants for ballistic calculations to fire dumb artillery and mortar shells, but the industrial base, and the culture recruits are drawn from, supports both mil-speced I-phone type devices and precision guidance fuses with GPS.

    The key is to train for the real enemy, whether it they are Chinese, Russians, Jihadis, smart Somali pirates or Leftie politican and Media pleasing JAG officers

  11. What happens to these rounds when the bad guys field a GPS jammer?

  12. lemmesee…home on jam? change the frequency? Tanks are always a good call, but then I’m prejudiced.

  13. What kind of CEP will be possible with a GPS guidance system? I'd always thought that mortars were kind of inaccurate to begin with, being smoothbores and all. Would there be a diminishing return?

  14. Traditional mortar engagement with unguided rounds will obviously still have a place, but the value to a beleaugured base that may have terrain masking, tube availability or other issues affecting its artillery support should not be underestimated. If you can see the enemy, your first GPS/INS round out of a clear blue sky will almost certainly land within lethal radius of him. If he's in the habit of disappearing when UAVs are around, this system will mean any exposed movement within quite a few kilometres of an OP will be very dangerous. That alone is worth the price ticket. It could also cut down on the use of $80k Javelin missiles which aren't capable against targets in defilade and have a much shorter range than even the 60mm mortar.

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