(March 15, 2021 / JNS) Israel’s Defense Ministry announced on Sunday the completion of a decade-long project to develop a guided mortar munition.
The “Iron Sting” is a “networked precision fire system” that employs laser and GPS to engage targets accurately and prevent collateral damage, said the ministry in a statement.
The system recently underwent final trials at a testing site in southern Israel and is now ready to begin production ahead of its integration into the Israel Defense Forces.
“We took a simple munition, the 120 mm mortar, combined it with very advanced GPS- and laser-based technology, thus providing the ground forces … with a simple, cheap munition capable of achieving an accuracy of fewer than 10 meters (33 feet). In this way, we grant the ground forces the ability to engage quickly, accurately and with minimal collateral damage,” said IDF Brig. Gen. Yaniv Rotem, head of research and development in the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense R&D.
“This laser and GPS-guided mortar munition provides troops with a precise firing capability that has only been implemented in missiles and aerial munition thus far. This is a very complex program and a groundbreaking system on the international level,” he said, adding that research and development on the system had taken a decade.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the technology’s integration into the IDF “changes the battlefield.”
“It … fulfills the IDF’s needs, adapting combat capabilities to contend with enemies hidden within civilian, urban environments, while meeting the legal and moral standards set by the State of Israel,” he said.
Col. Arik Avivi, head of the IDF Ground Forces’ Weapons Department, said that the ground forces command was leading the process of integrating the system into the IDF.
“This precise guided-mortar munition is groundbreaking for IDF battalions, equipping them with accurate and organic firepower. This capability has so far been reserved for large and complex missiles. Thanks to this impressive technological development, it will now be implemented in mortar munitions on a wide scale,” he said.
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