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Aselsan successfully tests AHS-120 mortar launch system

Turkey’s state-owned news agency Anadolu Agency reports of Aselsan announcing that it has successfully tested its AHS-120 – re-designated ALKAR – mortar firing system on December 05.

Revealed during the 2017 International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF) in February, the Aselsan ALKAR is a turret for launching 120 mm mortar from mobile carriers or from fixed positions.

Aselsan’s objective with the AHS-120 program was to change the process firing mortar shells towards an automated procure utilizing modern targeting systems and increasing both safety and effectiveness.

The ALKAR consists of an automatic barrel laying system, automatic ammunition load system, recoil mechanism and fire control system. Aselsan says that the launcher can deploy “any kind” of rifled or smoothbore mortar barrel, including those made outside of Turkey.

The ALKAR turret can turn 360 degrees and operate in day or night, all terrains and weather conditions.

As a module for self-propelled mortar carriers, the ALKAR’s recoil mechanism reduces the force endured by the platform when shooting. This enables prospective end-users to fit the ALKAR to a diverse range of vehicles, including potentially lighter wheeled vehicles.

The ALKAR’s electronics suite can provide ballistic calculation (using NATO’s Armaments Ballistic Kernel), measure muzzle velocity, display information about the battlefield and integrate with targeting radars, meteorological systems and forward observer systems.

Notes & Comments:

Aselsan has been developing an ecosystem of sensors and weapons for an integrated and multi-layered artillery solution for the Turkish Armed Forces. The ALKAR, with its automated and network-enabled targeting, is intended to join Aselsan’s SERHAT Counter Mortar Radar, STR Weapon Locating Radar System, KMO 155mm/52-calibre self-propelled howitzer and Boran 105 mm lightweight towed howitzer. These systems are in varying stages of development, with the STR being the farthest from coming to fruition. However, having shown prototypes during IDEF 2017, testing of the KMO and Boran could occur in the near-term.

Regarding the ALKAR specifically, its availability will also set the basis for Turkey to operate guided 120 mm mortar shells. Solutions analogous to the U.S. Guided Enhanced Fragmentation Mortar (GEFM) would see the Turkish Army deploy mortar shells with reduced CEP (circular error probable), which could amount to a significant gain in its counterinsurgency operations in mountainous areas.