Defense tech news usually consists of whiz-bang gear bordering on science fiction. But sometimes new equipment doesn’t have to sound like something out of Star Trek to make a transformational-ish change on the battlefield.
Case in point is the new M326 120-mm Mortar QuickStow System:
The M326 120-mm Mortar System was developed by BAE Systems to make it easier for Soldiers to quickly set-up and take down the M120 120-mm Mortar system on the battlefield.
The M326 is a simple and rugged device that can be easily attached to the M1101 Trailer, High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or a variety of other vehicles that serve as a prime mover for 120-mm mortar systems. It significantly reduces mortar crew workload by using a hydraulic system to hoist the fully assembled M120 Mortar, which weighs more than 300 pounds, into and out of the trailer or vehicle used to haul the weapon.
Today’s combat zones are more fluid and shifting than ever, and mobility and reaction time are often key elements to victory. This system is designed to allow heavy mortar teams to set up with less effort, engage enemy forces more quickly, and pack up and go in record time.
Some mechanized forces use mortar carrier vehicles, such as the M1129 Stryker mortar carrier, another pic here. Light infantry and other units that are primarily foot-based, however, don’t have this option. The M326 should help get the big tubes into the fight quite a bit more quickly.
More info in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Star-Tribune.
The Army plans to buy over 550 of the units beginning next year.