Is it worth converting the old MT-LB and BTR into self-propelled mortars

The positional war going on in the Donbas dictates to its participants its cruel rules of the game, written in blood. The main load there falls on artillery, barrel, rocket and mortar. Its effective operation requires continuous aerial reconnaissance from UAVs for target designation and reliable secure communications for fire adjustment. The constantly ongoing mutual counter-battery struggle forces the crews to constantly change positions and be mobile. All together, this forms stringent requirements for Russian artillery, the activity of which is negatively affected by the emerging “shell hunger” for some calibers.

In this publication, I would like to talk in more detail about the mortars used by both sides of the conflict. The Ukrainian experience is especially interesting, since the Armed Forces of Ukraine much earlier than the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation gained experience in positional warfare in their terrorist operation against the DPR and LPR and had more time to prepare.

There are mines

One of the most powerful arguments of the infantry in the Russian and Ukrainian armies are mortars of 82 mm and 120 mm caliber. A big plus is that the mine flies to the target along a hinged trajectory, covering the enemy. In conjunction with an ordinary Chinese-made civilian quadrocopter for reconnaissance and fire adjustment, some kind of "Cornflower" becomes a serious precision weapon. The disadvantages are also obvious - the short range of mortars forces them to be placed very close to the line of contact, which dramatically increases the risks for their calculations.

The conclusion drawn by our adversary was quite obvious: mortar batteries should be as mobile as possible, protected from fragments as far as possible. We will talk about some interesting technical solutions in their simplicity and accessibility further.

So, back in 2007, Thailand placed an order in Ukraine for the development of 81-mm self-propelled mortars on the BTR-3 chassis. The product received the BTR-3M1 index. The Kyiv Armored Plant and the Artillery Design Bureau had to take a serial armored personnel carrier as a basis, removing the fighting compartment with a turret and regular landing sites in the center of the hull. In front of the BTR-3, a superstructure with box-shaped onboard units was placed, in the roof of which an opening was made with hinged covers, under which there was a movable base for a mortar.

On the sides of the armored personnel carrier, Ukrainian engineers placed mounts for transporting a base plate and a two-legged mortar, thanks to which it can be removed and used separately. The armament is represented by the Ukrainian modification of the Soviet 2B14, the KBA48M mortar, in the original caliber 82 mm, for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and the export one - 81 mm. The maximum range of its firing reaches 3900 m, the rate of fire is up to 20-22 rds / min. Ammunition on board the car is impressive - 80 shots.

The project turned out to be simple and at the same time reliable, allowing you to move off-road, fire, quickly change positions and at the same time provide some protection to the calculation. The Kingdom of Thailand became so interested in them that they ordered from Kyiv the development of a version with a more powerful 2B11 mortar of 120 mm caliber. Its firing range increased to 7100 m, rate of fire - up to 13-15 rds / min, and the ammunition load was reduced to 40 rounds.

Not surprisingly, in 2014, the Kiev regime appropriated foreign-made self-propelled mortars, sending them to terrorize the Donbass. Subsequently, the BTR-3M2 proudly drove through Ukrainian parades, and in February-March 2022, one such armored vehicle became a trophy of the Russian Armed Forces in Gostomel.

Another interesting project of the Ukrainian self-propelled mortar is Bars-8MMK. The combat vehicle is built on the basis of the Bars-8 4x4 off-road vehicle, in the rear of which there is a modified 2B11 mortar with an automatic loading system and an automated fire control system with visualization of the tactical situation and control of the effectiveness of fire. Bringing the mortar into combat readiness takes only 30 seconds, the rate of fire is 12 rounds per minute, and the maximum range reaches 8 kilometers. The ammunition load is 60 shots, after firing a shot, the calculation can leave the position in less than 20 seconds.

Another rather promising direction in its simplicity is the option of equipping the usual "motorbike" with mortars. In 2015, one of the Ukrainian publications now blocked in Russia published a post with the following message:

Finally got this post. To be honest, I was waiting for it. And there are comments for the guys (until the rest of the MTLBs have been redone) !!! Installing structures similar to the one they made is WRONG!!! Ukraine already has ready-made modules, for example, Shturm-M, etc. I suggest that the guys concentrate on creating mobile firing points based on MTLB, namely 120 mm !!! mortar. Don't worry, this design is already working in Kazakhstan, only there it was made by the order of the Israelis. The most important MTLB chassis allows you to fire a 120 mm mortar. Yes, you may not have a ballistic computer, but ... a tablet with a program and a GPS navigator can replace it. The question is in the rotary plate, inside the MTLB and its stable fixation. Take my word for it, two mobile MTLBs with 120mm mortars paired with a drone are a terrible weapon.

Indeed, an ordinary lightly armored all-terrain vehicle with a large-caliber mortar mounted on it is a terrible weapon in its utility. The idea is not new, the project of the self-propelled 120-mm mortar "Tundzha" / "Tundzha-Sani" was worked out back in the USSR. An M-120 mortar was installed on the MT-LB in the stern, and the fighting compartment was closed from above with a double-leaf lid. Unfortunately, in our country it did not go into series, but its production was mastered in Bulgaria, from where it also came to the Warsaw Pact countries.

In modern Russia, on the basis of the "motorcycle league", a self-propelled mortar 2K32 "Deva" of 82-mm caliber 2B24 was developed, which is an improved version of the mortar 2B14-1 "Tray". The firing range from it reaches 6 km, the rate of fire is 20 rounds per minute. The self-propelled mortar was developed for the mountain units of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, but all of them were transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, and later to the National Guard. Only 36 pieces were produced.

As you can see, the Russian troops have a great need for highly mobile protected firing points. On the Web, you can even find photos of self-made self-propelled mortars in the form of "Cornflowers", handicraft mounted on "motor leagues", which says a lot. At the same time, it does not present any special technical problems in the factory to quickly re-equip numerous old armored personnel carriers and MT-LBs with mortars, giving our military the weapons that they need here and now. If we have thought of to install a gun turret from the ship on the "motor league", then God himself ordered a mortar of 82 mm and 120 mm caliber.
  • Author:
  • Photos used: Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation
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  1. Dmitry Volkov Offline Dmitry Volkov
    Dmitry Volkov (Dmitry Volkov) April 29 2023 11: 53
    We have a lot of different armored personnel carriers, armored personnel carriers, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles in our warehouses, and without any problems you can build a mortar control system by removing the tower and putting the PKT commander in place, you can use a shield and ...
  2. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) April 29 2023 12: 09
    Well, since Ukraine has had it since 2007, and we still don’t have it, it means that nobody needs it, there are some pitfalls. Well, you understand...

    All the same, a mortar is a tool for deterring superior enemy forces. "Artillery for the poor"
    As various kinds of Arab rebels in the south, they fire at the amers, who are superior in everything.
  3. Kulikov Victor Offline Kulikov Victor
    Kulikov Victor (Victor) April 29 2023 12: 51
    What does the Department of Defense do? Even a non-specialist understands that a self-propelled mortar is a simple, cheap and highly effective melee weapon in a positional war. They are needed like air at the front here and now. But we have a worthless Minister of Defense, who is not clear for what merit he distributes general ranks and covers for corrupt officials in the Ministry of Defense. Something is not heard about criminal cases regarding the disappearance of 1,5 million sets of military uniforms from warehouses. As a result, the whole world had to dress the mobilized citizens.
    1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) April 29 2023 16: 18
      Again, fairy tales about carts on Toyotas .. What is cheap is a mortar on MT-LB, yes, what is high-precision is still not, what is necessary is still not .. There is Nona at 120 mm, it is more high-precision and more protected and versatile. The whole question is the number of them in the NWO. As previously mentioned, a mortar on a pickup truck (MT-LB, etc.) is cheap for the poor, but incomparably worse than specialized self-propelled universal guns. The SVO showed that the most effective are the Sunbakers with thermobaric ammunition, so they need to be used and manufactured at times. to become mass art. means of defeating the enemy. Solntsepek is an order of magnitude more effective than mortars and switch to better weapons, and not back into the partisan area with wandering mortars. Large-caliber mortars also look promising for destroying basements and other fortifications in urban areas. A mobile self-propelled mortar of 203 mm or more with a short barrel (there is a long-barreled Tulip) will be appropriate, as in the battles in Artyomovsk, and there will be many such battles in the future. For example, at the end of the Second World War, the Germans made a mortar based on a heavy self-propelled gun for urban combat in 380 mm caliber, although there was no time to mass-produce and use it. Previously, the Germans used heavy siege mortars and 600 mm (Karl). Conclusions: There is no need to manufacture and use temporary and cheap weapons, it is necessary to manufacture and use effective and promising weapons. For example, a mortar has all the conditions to return to the arsenals, as a weapon of urban combat.
      1. hellman anton Offline hellman anton
        hellman anton (hellman anton) April 29 2023 16: 25
        Um, in fact, Solntsepek and other MLRS showed their complete uselessness, due to the lack of high-precision missiles. Lunar landscapes are proof of this.
        Shooting somewhere there is ineffective if anything.
        A mortar on a pickup truck is a highly mobile firing point with good ammunition that will nightmare everything that is possible.
        Barmaley not just use them, you just need to think and not tell nonsense)
        1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) April 29 2023 19: 27
          Replica. You tell this to the IEDs, when the Suns appear there, they send all the UAVs to destroy them, why such zeal. Sunbaths are the worst thing in a Ukronazi's dream. There is a spread during a volley, but the defeats are areal and effective even in shelters .. You just ask. According to nomadic mortars, the nomadic Nona is better, and the accuracy of the mortars is determined only by the guidance of the UAV and the mine does not penetrate even a weak overlap. Mortar, a light field tool against open targets. Today there are fewer of them and with equipped positions in defense it is completely ineffective
  4. Eduard Aplombov Offline Eduard Aplombov
    Eduard Aplombov (Eduard Aplombov) April 29 2023 13: 02
    yes, almost everything that drives, shoots, has some kind of armor can and should be upgraded to the front
    there can be no two, three, etc. opinions
  5. twice-born Offline twice-born
    twice-born (Unknown) April 29 2023 14: 30
    We already have such mobile armored mortars, but, as always, in single copies and in the troops for some reason there is nothing!
  6. Alexey Lan Offline Alexey Lan
    Alexey Lan (Alexey Lantukh) April 29 2023 15: 58
    Basic data of X-NUMX mm mortar M-160:
    Ballistic data
    Caliber - 160 mm;
    The longest firing range - 8040 m.
    The smallest firing range - 750 m.
    The initial speed of the mine is the greatest - 343 m / s.
    The initial speed of the mine is the lowest - 157 m / s.

    Mortar weight in the combat position - 1300 kg.
    The mortar weight in the stowed position - 1470 kg.
    Baseplate Weight - 260 kg.
    The weight of the final mines - 41,14 kg.

    Mortar was transported by towing GAZ-63 and ZIL-157.
    Currently, M-160 mortars are in service with several armies in the world. Despite the fact that the serial production of M-160 divisional mortar was deployed in two plants (Plant No. 535, and from 1952 of the year - Plant No. 172) for the entire production period (production discontinued in 1957 year), the entire 2353 was released.

    There were also such mortars. That would be installed on MTLB.
  7. riwas Offline riwas
    riwas (riwas) April 30 2023 08: 16
    In Syria, our 160-mm mortars showed themselves very well. They destroy concrete and field defenses, and the latter do not need a direct hit to defeat them. It would be nice to make them self-propelled, as Israel (Makmat) did, but they are muzzle-loading - when loading, the hydraulic lift lowered and understood the barrel to the set position. Makmat's firing range is 9,6 km. The Israelis claim that the rate of fire reached 8 rds / min.
  8. Anton Kuzmin Offline Anton Kuzmin
    Anton Kuzmin (Anton Kuzmin) April 30 2023 10: 21
    In fact, even under Hitler, armored personnel carriers were used to transport mortars. Moreover, the fire could be fired both from the ground and directly from the armored car.

    I wouldn't be surprised if there are even earlier examples. In the end, the first anti-aircraft SU is generally 1905. Then there weren’t really any planes yet; Austria-Hungary developed it to destroy balloons with observers.

    The question here is that a specific order comes from the troops and that it be implemented in metal. Moreover, not in the form of samples, but in a series.
  9. Anton Kuzmin Offline Anton Kuzmin
    Anton Kuzmin (Anton Kuzmin) April 30 2023 10: 25
    Quote: Vladimir Tuzakov
    Replica. You tell this to the IEDs, when the Suns appear there, they send all the UAVs to destroy them, why such zeal. Sunbaths are the worst thing in a Ukronazi's dream. There is a spread during a volley, but the defeats are areal and effective even in shelters .. You just ask. According to nomadic mortars, the nomadic Nona is better, and the accuracy of the mortars is determined only by the guidance of the UAV and the mine does not penetrate even a weak overlap. Mortar, a light field tool against open targets. Today there are fewer of them and with equipped positions in defense it is completely ineffective

    And now what kind of mortars do you want for insufficient power and poor efficiency? 50mm Soviet (long out of service) 82mm? 107 mountain? 120? 160? Or even 240 Tulips? Or is it all crap?


    each vegetable has its own time (C)

    Each mortar has its own purpose. And its place in the weapons system.
  10. prior Online prior
    prior (Vlad) April 30 2023 12: 12
    Well, how much budgetary money can be "sawed" on the topic of placing mortars on MT-LB ?!
    Fig, nope.
    Either the case of "Coalition SV" or "Armata", it smells like billions.
    Here is the answer to the question, where do we have mobile mortars.