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After a successful troop test of the "Mörser 16", the Swiss armed forces report its troop suitability. The tactical capabilities of the future 120mm mortar used by the Swiss armed forces were already being tested at the military training area in Bière in March 2020. "The criteria for troop suitability have been met and proof of deployment in the army has been provided. According to the plan, the mortar system will be handed over to the troops from 2024," writes the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) in a statement.

Mortar 16 consists of the GDELS-Mowag Piranha IV carrier vehicle and the RUAG COBRA 120 mm mortar integrated into it. (Photo: VBS)

The troop trial was originally planned for 2019. However, safety deficiencies were found during technical tests. According to well-informed circles, the gas pressure in the original configuration would have been too high when the shot was fired, among other things. All safety deficiencies identified have now been remedied by the industry, so that the system could now be successfully tested "live shot".

In order to be able to hand over to the troops in 2024, according to the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, the serial contract must now be prepared and signed.

Mortar 16 in Live Shot (Video: VBS)

Project mortar 16

In 2016, the Swiss Parliament approved the procurement of 32 systems of a new 120 mm mortar system. In addition, twelve trucks, an unspecified ammunition package and logistics material are to be procured and 16 existing command vehicles are to be adapted.

The COBRA weighs 1350 kg (with loading mechanism) produces a recoil of approx. 30 tons. (Photo: VBS)

The carrier vehicle for the Mörser 16 is the wheeled infantry fighting vehicle Piranha IV 8×8 from General Dynamics European Land Systems-Mowag (GDELS-Mowag), into which the electrically directed 120 mm mortar Cobra from RUAG is to be integrated.

Waldemar Geiger