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Rak 120mm self propelled mortar

Poland’s Rak (Crawfish) 120mm self propelled mortar is the sort of turreted system that Russia had for years but never really caught on in the west. It’s built on the Rosomak chassis, which is a Polish-made variant of Patria’s 8x8 AMV. The RAK mortar was originally intended to be mounted on tracked chassis, but the Polish army eventually mounted it on their vehicles Rosomak (AMV modification). The tracked vehicles are based on the HSW light tracked chassis, though in 2013, at the MSPO exhibition, the manufacturer presented the implementation of a mortar on the chassis of the German Marder infantry fighting vehicle.

Currently there are two versions of the RAK – tracked (M120G) and wheeled (M120K). The latter is already in service (64 mortars and 32 command vehicles between 2017 and 2019) within brigades equipped with the ROSOMAK APCs. The great advantage of these systems is their high modularity, which enables them to be mounted on various chassis. Due to their low weight and modularity, the RAK system could certainly be mounted on vehicles such as Pandur wheeled transporters.

Observers expected the mass withdrawal of towed 120 mm mortars from NATO mechanized and motorized units because their survivability is way below acceptable. Modern battlefield saturated with surveillance assets, drones, counter-fire radars and air assets and with the enemy having strong artillery and numerous MLRS at his disposal, is a hazardous environment. Thus, solely the artillery that remain able to move constantly would be the only units standing a chance of survival. Time between firing the first round until the moment when the asset leaves the position and moves ~500 meters away should be shorter than 5 minutes. In a perfect world it would be less than 180 sec. For 120 mm towed mortars these conditions are virtually impossible to be met in real life.

Polish SPFC (Self-Propelled Field Cannon) equipped in an automatic mortar 120 mm (4.72 in) installed on track chassis (SMG 120) and vehicular (SMK 120), designed in Centrum Produkcji Wojskowej HSW. The vehicle is equipped in digital fire control system including thermal camera and laser rangefinder, thanks to it vehicle can be effective in day as well as in night. Data can be taken i.a. from unmanned aircraft "FlyEye". Mortar RAK can shoot remotely as a unmanned weapon, using commands and data transmitted electronically to a vehicle computer.

The 120mm breach-loading mortar has an automatic loading system with a capacity for 20 ready rounds. 26 additional rounds are stowed in the hull. The autoloader and mortar has a rate of fire of 6-8 rounds per minute. The mortar has the expected computerized fire control system that is integrated with the GPS/INS navigation system. This fire control system also allows for direct fire with a laser rangefinder and a day/night sight. A coaxial 7.62mm UKM-2000D machine gun is also provided.

Chief among the advantages of a turreted mortar carrier is the ability to provide protection for the crew. The Rak has STANAG Level 1 armor protection all-around, which means it’s rated to resist 7.62mm M80 rounds and 5.56mm M855 and M193 rounds fired from a distance of 30 meters. It’s also proof against fragments from a 155mm artillery shell detonated at 100 meters.

The basic combat task of 120mm self-propelled mortars is the conduct of semi-indirect fire, indirect fire, and point-blank fire at a wide range of enemy targets.Electromechanical equipment for 120mm howitzer “RAK” Furthermore, when loaded with special ammunition, the mortar is capable of illuminating or fumigating the operational area. It was design by consortium of polish companies HSW and WB Group.

The equipment provides: homing of the turret and mortar barrel on a target; and automatic loading of ammunition from repository to a lockchamber. Modern autonomous and automatic homing guidance and automatic loading is available regardless of the turret’s position. The M120 mortar turret, fitted with the C4I fire-control system, enables efficient and precise performance of fire task. The chassis ensures reliability and high mobility of the vehicle while retaining compliance with the highest ergonomic and crew safety standards and the ability of relocation by any type of transportation, including air.

In December 2016, the largest contract in the Polish arms industry was signed for the delivery of four division fire modules "Regina". In April 2016, HSW signed a contract for the delivery of 8 Company Fire Modules of 120 mm self-propelled mortars "RAK" which main component - 120 mm self-propelled mortar, has been developed from scratch in HSW. The company would provide, among others 64 self-propelled mortars, as well as command, repair, ammunition and reconnaissance vehicles.

At MSPO 2019 in Kielce on 3 September, Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) revealed the latest iteration of the RAK 120mm self-propelled tracked mortar. The latest model boasts a heavily modernised chassis, using a modern hydro-pneumatic suspension system derived from the LPG (Light Tracked Chassis) programme, which incorporated a modified version of the 2S1 GVOZDIKA self-propelled mortar’s suspension system of Soviet origin, manufactured by HSW until 1993. Developed in 2004, the LPG was developed by HSW in 2009, based largely on its OPAL tracked amphibious armoured personnel carrier (APC). The tracked version, which is destined to be deployed in heavy brigades, equipped with heavy armour, has yet to be ordered, but both types are available for foreign customers. According to a contract signed in 2009 between the Ministry of National Defence and HSW, a so-called ‘company module’ was to include both types. In 2016 Poland ordered eight company modules, each of eight wheeled vehicles.

Serial production and first delivery have started in 2017. According to state from 01 July 2017 Polish Army had 8 mortars RAK and 4 command vehicles. Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced in late 2019 that more wheeled RAK would be ordered soon. The contract concluded by the Ministry of National Defense with Huta Stalowa Wola for the supply of 64 automatic 120 mm "RAK" mortars based on the Rosomak APC chassis and 32 command vehicles would cost nearly PLN 1 billion. Each fire module includes: 8 "RAK" mortars on the KTO Rosomak wheeled chassis and 4 artillery command vehicles. The 21st Podhale Rifle Brigade from Rzeszów, the 17th Mechanized Brigade from Miedzyrzecz, the 15th Mechanized Brigade from Gizycko and the 12th Mechanized Brigade from Szczecin are brigades that received "RAK" mortars.

Huta Stalowa Wola worked to increase the rate of fire of the fire module. It is assumed to increase from six / eight shots per minute to about ten, and after the missiles are fired, Rak would leave the firing post faster, which would reduce its sensitivity to counter-batter fire. The current fire reaction time in the case of transition from the march to the combat position is a maximum of 30 seconds, and in the case of leaving the combat position after firing a shot - 15 seconds. The Cancer tower has been equipped with the Fonet internal communication system, the RRC9311AP VHF digital radio station used to maintain external communication, an optoelectronic sight for straight-ahead shooting with a TV camera and laser rangefinder, day and night observation devices of the commander, a circular observation system and the Obra-3 laser radiation detection system SSP-1.

ManufacturerCentrum Produkcji Wojskowej Huta Stalowa Wola
TypeSelf-Propelled Field Cannon
Crew2 men
PlatformSMK 120
SMG 120
Weight22 000 kg (48 500 lb)20 000 kg (44 000 lb)
Length7700 mm (25 ft)7370 mm (24 ft)
Wight2800 mm (9 ft)2870 mm (9.4 ft)
Maximal speed80 km/h (49 mph)60 km/h (37 mph)
Elevations60 degrees
Side tilt35 degrees 30 degrees
Vertical obstacles0,5 m (1.6 ft) 0,4 m (1.3 ft)
Fords1,5 m (5 ft) 1,4 m (4.6 ft)
Ditches2,1 m (6.8 ft) 2 m (6,5 ft)
Armament dataMortar 120 mm (4.72 in)
Barrel length3000 mm (9.8 ft)
Angle of horizontal fire360 degrees
Angle of vertical fire-3/+80 degrees
Range of Fire8000-12000 m (4.9-7.45 mi)
RoF7-10 shells per minute

Rak 120mm self propelled mortar Rak 120mm self propelled mortar Rak 120mm self propelled mortar Rak 120mm self propelled mortar Rak 120mm self propelled mortar Rak 120mm self propelled mortar

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Page last modified: 06-06-2021 18:19:55 ZULU