Mobile mortars and their applicationin the modern battle
One of the most original 120mm Russian mobile mortar systems, was, and still is, the 120mm 2S9 Nona-S howitzer/mortar system. designed as airborne artillery support vehicle, the Nona is mounted on a modified turret BMD airborne combat vehicle, which can be dropped from tactical transport aircraft. Armed with the 120mm breech-loaded rifled tube 2A60 mortar, it renders both indirect high trajectory and direct point fire capabilities.
Through its semi-automatic loading mechanism, 6-8 rpm firing rate is normal, with 30 seconds action readiness. Another Russian system is the 2S23 120mm SP howitzer/mortar. This model is mounted on a modified BTR-80 platform. In 1996 the Russian Motovilikha Plants Corporation fielded the latest of its Nona family, the 2S31 Vena, an automated self propelled mortar, with a longer barrel, (Russian 120mm 2A80) also firing the Gran laser-guided bomb against point targets to 13km range. The known version was mounted on a BMP-3 chassis and has 70 rounds on board storage (about twice as much as the former). A similar version was developed by the Chinese Army, designated WZ-551 6×6 mounted on an armoured personnel carrier. The Russians seem to love super-big guns, they have designed the mammoth 420mm SP Oka mortar system, which was originally intended to fire tactical nuclear rounds. Fortunately it was never commissioned.
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