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The Israeli 160mm Soltam mortar offers both light weight and economy. The MAKMAT is a 160mm mortar mounted on a Sherman chassis. It entered service in the early '60s, and proved to be an extremely potent weapon.

The Soltam systems 160 mm Mortars fire a 38 kg bomb out to 9,600 m. To do this requires a heavy weapon (1,700 kg in firing position) and 6 to 8 crewmembers.

Mortars are avilable in towed configuration, for ground deployment, or in S.P. version. The barrel is a high-tensile strength, alloy steel tube. At the bottom end is the breech piece which contains the firing mechanism.

The striker can be withdrawn to provide safety, particularly in the case of a misfire. There is no bipod mounting for this weapon, instead, the barrel is elevated and depressed by a single column which is part of the carriage. The weight of the bomb makes conventional muzzle loading difficult so it is necessary to lower the barrel to a loading position. This is done by folding down the elevating strut from a hinge at its mid-point.

There is a spring loaded counterbalance mechanism which makes it easy to elevate the barrel each time it is loaded. After loading, the barrel is errected back exactly to its original elevation. The carriage axles allow the roadwheels to be turned in and locked by a cam plate attached to the axle. The offside roadwheel incorporates a clutch and handle to allow slow traverse. The carriage rolls on its wheels through a complete 360 circle without moving the baseplate.

The baseplate is heavy flat disc welded with a number of webs to give stiffness and to prevent any tendency to slide sideways. Four handles are welded to the top plate to allow carriage and baseplate extraction. There is a central socket into which the tail of the breech piece fits. This allows a full 360 traverse without movement of the baseplate. There is a spring-loaded arrangement to ensure that the breech piece cannot leave the baseplate. The sight unit is identical to the sight, used with the 120 mm Mortars.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:51:40 ZULU