The Bangladesh Army has approved the purchase of 120mm heavy mortars of both towed and self-propelled configurations having rifled and smoothbore barrels respectively.
The General Staff Branch, Artillery Directorate at the Army Headquarters has also sought information on 120mm smoothbore towed heavy mortar system for induction in to its inventory.
The Bangladesh Army already raised a new heavy mortar regiment under the 10 Infantry Division at Ramu, which is yet to be equipped. However delivery of 20 Alkar AHS-120 (120mm heavy self-propelled mortar system) is due shortly according to Army officials. These self-propelled mortars are destined for the 47 Mortar Regiment.
Earlier Defseca.com Team reported about the induction of NATO standard mortars with Turkey being one of the primary sources.
The Aselsan AHS-120 rifled self-propelled mortar system is mounted on a BMC Vuran 4×4 mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle. It sits on an electrically controlled turntable which is fitted with a computerised fire control system and all-electric gun control equipment to minimise laying time and crew fatigue. It is understood the FCS developed by Aselsan uses sharable NATO Armaments Ballistic Kernel (NABK) fire control software.
The AHS-120 has a muzzle velocity radar and meteorological information system. In addition Forward Observers can feed information to the fire control system.
A load assist device is fitted with the fuzed 120 mm mortar bomb being placed in the loading tray, which then takes the 120 mm mortar bomb upwards and positions it over the rifled barrel and drops it down onto the firing pin. The recoil from firing the heavy mortar is reduced to just 25 tonnes as a result of the anti-recoil system.
The mortar system has a maximum range of up to 8,000 m and a minimum range of 1,500 m. It takes approximately 60 seconds to come into action from travel position. All types of NATO standard 120 mm mortar bombs can be fired from the AHS-120 self-propelled mortar system.
Aselsan maintains strong links with the Bangladesh Army. It has a record of supplying various simulators, secure radio communications equipment and components to the Bangladesh Army.
With this contract the Bangladesh Army has become the launch export customer for the Alkar AHS-120 heavy self-propelled mortar system. The Bangladesh Army will gradually go about re-equipping all its infantry divisions with new generation heavy mortar systems in both towed and self-propelled configuration. There is an estimated requirement for at least 240 heavy mortars. At present the Bangladesh Army maintains a holding of Brandt F1 from France, HM-16 from Iran, Type 53 from China and UBM 52A4 from Serbia (Yugoslavia).