The Soltam Systems 120mm mobile Cardom (Hatchet), a 120 mm K-6 mortar barrel held in a turntable platform system comprises new Computerized Integrated Navigation, Self Positioning and Aiming systems. Its modern Target Acquisition Devices together with special designed Recoiling Mortar System attenuates the firing loads and enables mounting the systems on wheeled and soft AFV’s, or even trucks. The CARDOM Aiming mechanisms are linked to state-of-the-art command, control and communication systems, to achieve quick response automatic laying mode. The IDF delivered Cardom system takes target acquisition data, typically from a locally developed Azimuth Atlas Mk 2 system that provides range, bearing, position and other data from an observation position and transmits it direct to the Cardom system. Using electrical servo motors the mortar barrel is then set to the exact traverse and elevation angles ready for firing.
Although the Cardom is not breech loaded, Soltam officials claim a burst rate of 16 rpm, followed by a 4 rpm sustained rate of fire, by a trained crew. Asked wether Soltam could develop an under armour version, the officials said that a Turret Mortar Under Armour (TMUAS) long barrel system was developed by Soltam in the past but discontinued, for commercial reasons. Soltam is currently providing an automatic breech loading 60mm mortar for the IDF Merkava Mk4.
The “Cardom” Recoil Mortar System has been qualified for fielding with the 3d US Army Stryker brigade, and will be coupled to the US Army’s M95 Mortar Fire Control System. Over 300 mortars are currently in production for the US Army. In the past Cardom also competed for the US Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS) as part of the Lockheed Martin team. Work is underway to examine alternatives to meet the United States Marine Corps requirements for an expeditionary weapons systems that will make up the 3rd leg of their fire support triad in support of their “Ship to Objective Maneuver” requirements and Soltam Systems is supporting a number of US based prime contractors to propose suitable configuration options for the Fiscal Year ’06 acquisition program.
September 8, 2006: The Israeli Army is fielding the Cardom 120mm mortar system with the fire support company of the Nahal (900) infantry brigade. The advanced mortar, developed by Soltam, is mounted on a traversable plane which provides automatic aiming and fire adjustments performed through the fire control computer or via communications. The mortar replaces 91mm mortars currently deployed in this role.