|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
Early in 1995 the Lockheed Martin Defense Systems Turret Mortar Under Armor System (TMUAS) completed development and is now ready to enter production on receipt of firm orders.
Lockheed Martin Defense System is the programme leader for the TMUAS, which has been developed as a private venture specifically for the export market and is responsible for systems integration, fire control and 120 mm mortar ammunition.
FNSS of Turkey is responsible for the full-tracked M113 type chassis and Mauser of Germany (recently taken over by Rheinmetall) for the 120 mm tip loading mortar system (see below).
The actual mortar system was developed some years ago and has already been evaluated in Germany fitted to the private venture Krauss-Maffei Puma Armoured Combat Vehicle which is covered in the AFV families section. The German designation for the system is the Mauser 120 mm Mortar Turret MMT.
Although the system is currently fitted to the FNSS full-tracked chassis, it can be fitted to a wide range of other chassis, tracked and wheeled, including the United Defense Bradley and the Diesel
Division General Motors of Canada LAV (8 x 8) which is the Swiss MOWAG Piranha vehicle manufactured under licence.
Lockheed Martin Defense Systems claims the following advantages for the TMUAS:
- Immediate response to fire support requirements
- Ability to fire extended range ammunition
- Greater lethality than light artillery
- Armour protection for personnel and equipment
- Ability to quickly fire and redeploy.
The TMUAS tip load 120 mm mortar allows the loading of ammunition for the six-round load-assist magazine into the forward top load section of the barrel. After loading, the round of ammunition is held in place until the tip load barrel is rotated and locked into place with the main barrel. The round then drop fires as in a normal mortar.
The 120 mm mortar can be aimed, loaded and fired under complete armour protection and the three-man crew can place six rounds on target in 25 seconds.
The fire-control system installed in the TMUAS includes a global positioning system which supplies the computer with continual automatic vehicle position update data. The vehicle navigation system provides the fire-control system with automatic vehicle position and attitude and automatic next position data.
The computer integrates the position of the TMUAS, forward observer and target, and provides the commander and gunner with turret traverse and azimuth/elevation settings, correct charge and fuze settings, before the weapon is laid on the target and fired.
A typical target engagement is as follows:
- The commander, seated on the right of the turret, receives target co-ordinates and inputs them into the fire-control computer. The driver moves the vehicle to the selected firing position using commander/vehicle navigation system instructions
- The commander reads azimuth, elevation, charge and fuze settings from the computer to the gunner. The gunner positions turret to selected azimuth and mortar elevation
- The gunner sets charges/fuzes and loads each round into the upper tube. Adjacent to the six-round magazine are two nine-round ready racks
- The commander fires each round while maintaining communication with the forward observer
- As soon as the fire mission has been completed the TMUAS moves off to a new position.
TMUAS has been demonstrated to the US Infantry School at Fort
Benning and in 1995 to Kuwait, which is understood to have a requirement for up to 110 systems.
Also competing for this contract is Royal Ordnance/Delco Systems/Diesel Division General Motors of Canada with the 120 mm Armored Mortar System and TDA of France with its 120 mm mortar system, both mounted on a MOWAG Piranha 8 x 8 chassis. Other potential customers are Saudi Arabia (Ministry of Defence and Aviation) and Turkey.