March 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army plans to issue contracts this year for development of a next-generation laser-guided 120mm mortar system.
The new precision high explosive guided mortar, which will replace the current system, eliminates the need to typically fire several rounds to adjust fire for accurate strikes and also incorporate threat counter-measures and enhanced mobility.
"We're going to improve upon the existing technology and incorporate next-generation upgrades into HEGM, such as increased threat countermeasures and enhanced maneuverability," Lt. Col. Anthony Gibbs, of Product Manager Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems, which is part of the Program Executive Office Ammunition at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., said in a press release.
"With a precision mortar capability, you're able to quickly come in, establish, fire and with one round you're able to get effects," Gibbs said. "If counter-fire is a threat, a precision mortar gives you the ability to get first round effects and then reposition."
The Army recently closed the solicitation phase. Multiple contracts will be awarded this fiscal year. Companies that receive contracts will then create and deliver potential HEGM solutions for the U.S. government to test.
A full and open competition will be conducted in 2018 to select the final solution, the Army said.