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The Swiss Army has signed a contract for a 120 mm mortar system. This comes after armasuisse verified that said system complies with military requirements. The general contractor is GDELS-Mowag while RUAG AG will supply the system, called COBRA, as a subcontractor. The Swiss Army will call the weapon “Mortar 16” and the GDELS-MOWAG PIRANHA IV 8×8 wheeled IFV will serve as the mobility platform (of which 32 have been ordered).

In spring 2020, field testing conducted by the Swiss Army was completed with the “Mortar 16” prototype, demonstrating that it meets military requirements. The findings from the troop trials and further technical tests by armasuisse and industry will be incorporated into series production.

With the signing of the series contract, series production will now begin. The first examples can be handed over from 2024. In parallel, the procurement of the other components such as ammunition, vehicles and material for the ammunition supply as well as the necessary adaptations to command vehicles and software will take place.

The 64/91 mortar systems were decommissioned in 2010. Since then, the combat battalions no longer have indirect fire support with 120 mm mortars. This meant that the steep fire capability for fighting in built-up areas in particular was lost. The new mortar system will now close this capability gap.

Jack Richardson