New Zealand based Hirtenberger Defence Technology Ltd. (HDT), a subsidiary of Hirtenberger Defence Europe GmbH of Austria (a company which has been in Hungarian state ownership since the end of 2019) has recently carried out further tests of the SOF-Fire Ballistic Calculator. This is a compact fire control solution developed by HDT in cooperation with the New Zealand Defence Force to support their mortar missions.
SOF-Fire Ballistic Calculator
The system combines several functions in one ruggedised handheld computer and since special forces operate in small teams, these soldiers have to perform several tasks in secondary functions that would normally be performed by specially trained soldiers. Until now, the aiming process was carried out by means of the mortar optics (C2A1), while simple firing tables were used for the ballistic calculation. SOF-Fire offers several advantages, not limited to:
- Allowing fire from behind cover.
- Enable accurate day / night shooting (C2A1 sight is only a day optic).
- Get rounds on target faster (enhanced accuracy).
- No significant increase in training time (simplified operation).
The SOF-Fire has an internal GPS, a long battery range and can be linked to a target locator / laser range finder and a KESTREL ballistic weather sensor to determine local meteorological conditions to increase accuracy.
The software has dedicated access keys for the following quick tasks:
- HE on target
- SMOKE on target
- Illuminate target
- Illumination (IR or Visible) Marker) – placing a flare on the ground as a reference point for close air support aircraft.
Corrections can be performed manually or by radio data transmission directly via the target acquisition device.
SOF-Fire Ballistic Calculator for the Infantry
Although developed to meet the needs of special forces, SOF-Fire was able to prove its utility for the infantry during a recent firing campaign in New Zealand when soldiers of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1 RNZIR) were qualified on the New Zealand Armed Forces’ new 60 mm mortar. HDT representatives were on site to check the performance of the recently delivered mortar systems and ammunition. During the live firing training exercises, HDT representatives took the opportunity to simultaneously utilise the new SOF-Fire Ballistic Calculator and gain feedback from the soldiers.
Ian Garnett, Managing Director of HDT, was delighted with the first-hand feedback and stated his intention to implement the suggestions in the SOF-Fire as soon as possible. According to Garnett, the software is designed in such a way that modifications can be implemented very easily and thus product improvements can be realized very quickly.