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Elbit Systems unveiled its Crossbow next-generation 120 mm turreted mortar system at DSEI 2023, billing it as the only truly automated mortar turret on the market.

The premise for this claim comes by way of a novel auto-loader mechanism that aligns the rounds to be loaded with the current position of the barrel, obviating the need for the barrel to be returned to an index position to be loaded.

Elbit Systems’ Crossbow next-generation 120 mm turreted mortar system, unveiled at DSEI 2023, is billed as the only truly automated mortar turret on the market. (Photo: Elbit Systems)

This gives the Crossbow system a maximum initial rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute, after which (to prevent the barrel overheating) a sustained rate of fire of six rounds per minute can be achieved.

The Crossbow system was developed by Elbit under an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) contract. Speaking to ESD at DSEI 2023 on 13 September, Udi Vered, general manager of Elbit Systems Land, said the system will be operational with the IDF in early 2025, adding that the company is also in dialogue with the UK Ministry of Defence regarding the system, which could be fitted to the British Army’s future fleet of Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles.

Vered also noted that the Crossbow system is light enough to be mounted on 6×6 AFVs as well as the more usual 8×8 platforms.

The Crossbow mortar system, which has an effective range out to 10 km, is capable of firing on the move, multiple-round simultaneous impact (MRSI) fire missions, direct-fire missions and can also fire Elbit’s Iron Sting laser- and GPS guided precision mortar munition.

Peter Felstead