The U.S. Army is looking for contractors to develop laser-guided precision mortar systems as part of efforts to replace the service branch’s current GPS-guided mortar units and help soldiers eliminate targets at a high accuracy rate.
The service branch said Friday that it has closed the initial phase of a solicitation for a 120mm high-explosive guided mortar that can work to incapacitate personnel within or behind structural barriers or light-skinned vehicles.
HEGM units will also include a semi-active laser that supports independent targeting and offers laser designation capacity that will help direct rounds towards its target.
The HEGM units, designed to replace current mortar units developed under the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative, will also have a capacity for integration with all U.S. 120mm mortar weapons and fire-control systems in armored, infantry and Stryker brigade combat teams.
Lt. Col. Anthony Gibbs, product manager for guided precision munitions and mortar systems at the Army, said the branch looks to update existing technologies and incorporate next-generation systems into the HEGM such as threat countermeasures and maneuverability technologies.
“Precision allows mortars to be used in areas where typically collateral damage concerns would prevent them from being used, so it keeps an asset in the fight,” Gibbs added.
The Army plans to award multiple contracts in late fiscal 2017 for the development of HEGM prototypes that the U.S. government will test and subsequently hold a full and open competition in 2018 to select a final product.