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As an article which appeared in the June 2019 information magazine Materieelgezien the Dutch Procurement Office "Defensie Materieel Organisatie '' (DMO) is apparent from the acquired M6 were C-640 qualified Mk1 command mortar with the matching ammunition and released for use in the troop. The use of the command mortar from the Austrian manufacturer Hirtenberger Defense Europe is to take place in the infantry associations of the Dutch army, the corps Mariniers (Marin infantry) and the Corps Kommandotroepen (special forces).

The operating principle of command mortar is easy. After setting the distance to the destination and the type of ammunition used in the directing agent of the mortar, the cartridge must be inserted into the tube. After alignment of the mortar by means of a spirit level (height and side inclination) of the launch is carried out by actuation of the trigger mechanism. At DSEi 2017 presented Hirtenberger with the GRAM an electronic directional means before, which helps both accuracy and effective combat range of command mortar can be increased. In addition GRAM allows the use of the command mortar indirect straightening.

Procurement and qualification

Already 2015 155 commando mortar went under contract, the qualification of the ammunition was completed and by 2018 Hirtenberger early 2019 DMO with support from the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) enabled.

The Dutch procurement program similar to the ongoing Procurement of a 60-mm mortar for the Bundeswehr, has made extremely tedious. After the now equipped associations have expressed their need for a new portable mortar as early as 2011 - the systems currently in use are from the 1960s - led several delays mean that the new systems could be made available only recently the troops.

The original project duration, the report shows, was estimated at three years: one year for the tender (including contract signature), nine months ammunition production and then subsequently one to one and a half years training ammunition in connection with the weapon. The latter was only released in 2019 by the Netherlands, that is from the system weapon / ammunition is to be considered as qualified and must go into use. The reasons for the delay are probably to be found in the special meticulousness of the 60-mm-qualification.

Der Rahmenvertrag über die Lieferung der 60-mm-Mörsermunition wurde zwischen der DMO und Hirtenberger am 14. April 2019 unterzeichnet. (Foto: DMO)

Martin Perka, responsible for the Netherlands Sales Manager at Hirtenberger, points out "that was significantly attention to a successful system qualification, after the death of two Dutch soldiers. Hence it was then not until the beginning of 2019 to the release of the system, as several reviewing bodies and release steps were necessary on the part of DMO."In the now performed qualifying the types of ammunition were"tested through its paces"IM and Qualified (Insensitive Munitions). The TNO supported the manufacturer and the DMO in the qualification of the individual types of ammunition. The experience gained in the process will be used in future ammunition procurement of the Dutch armed forces. The DMO is to want to take into account the qualification process of explosives when planning new procurement projects significantly stronger in the future. The director of the DMO, Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard, praised the commitment and tenacity of the project team for the procurement of this weapon. "It is good that the gun is now available and that the user is satisfied with the quality of the system. "

Ammunition accident in Mali in 2016

In the fall of 2017, the Dutch Untersuchungsrat Security (OVV) had published an investigation report to the defection in July 2016 in which two soldiers died and another soldier was seriously injured. They had been killed during an exercise in Kidal in the north-western Mali by the sudden explosion of a 60-mm mortar round. The disclosed in the report have led to the resignation of the former Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis and the commander of the Dutch armed forces General Tom Middendorp.

The OVV report made "serious deficiencies" in connection with the procurement of mortar ammunition responsible for the deaths of the soldiers. The ammunition was purchased in 2006 by the US Department of Defense under time pressure. It had missed the Dutch Ministry of Defense to make its own extensive checks and instead rely on the information provided by the US forces. Finally, have moisture can penetrate the mortar cartridges so that they have become associated with the ruling in Mali heat unstable and sensitive to shocks.

Acceptance of the command mortar in the armed forces

Initial training on Hirtenberger M6 C-640 Mk1 command mortar was taken over by the company. Six instructors of the Dutch armed forces were trained on the system and have developed based on them and corresponding training concepts with Dutch use principles and safety regulations.

Users express their confidence in the ease of use and performance of the command mortar. Sergeant Major Martin Mulder (Corps Mariniers) - head of training for the 60-mm mortar training in the Dutch school for indirect fire - is quoted as follows:"I am impressed. You can very accurately shoot up to 1500 meters and the effect exceeds expectations. Really an impressive weapon system. Especially when it comes down to it, very effective. A small group can use this 60-mm mortar to keep down the enemy and discourage the use of heavy weapons. All in all, we can be very pleased with these mortars. "

Dutch marines shoot command mortar with the new 60 mm. (Video: MOD Netherlands)

procurement volume

A total of 155 command mortars were procured and a framework contract for the supply of ammunition with a term of five years closed. If necessary, the contract may be renewed for another two years. Introduced and qualified insensitive types of ammunition in the standard execution are:

  • Explosive cartridge with percussion fuse (with and without delay)
  • Explosive cartridge with rapprochement detonator
  • Fog cartridge (red phosphorus),
  • Rocket and
  • An optical cartridge (IR).
M6 C-640 mortar command Mk1
Manufacturer Hirtenberger
caliber 60 mm
Length ·         87 cm (gesamt)

X 64 cm (ballistic)

Weight ·         6,4 kg (kleine Bodenplatte)

· 8.1 kg (large base plate)

weight ammunition 1.8 kg
Distance fighting up to 1,500 m (effective)
shot sequence 15 rounds / minute
troop strength two soldiers
user ·         Infanterieverbände des niederländischen Heeres

· Corps Mariniers

· Corps Commandotroepen

Waldemar Geiger