Military reveals new locally developed mobile mortars


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The military unveiled a new locally developed mobile mortar system, along with other locally developed weapons systems and equipment, during a media tour Friday to demonstrate its efforts to create self-reliant defenses.

The mobile mortar system comes in two versions: One is mounted to a vehicle and the other is designed to be set up on the ground, said Lt. Col. Chen Chien-chung of the 202nd Arsenal under the Ministry of National Defense’s Armaments Bureau, who is responsible for the project for developing the system.

Unlike traditional manual methods of launching mortars, the system allows personnel to launch mortars through a computerized system ��which is completely developed locally,�� Chen told reporters during a tour of the 202nd Arsenal’s Taipei unit.

The system is very easy to operate, he said. ��As long as you can play video games, you will know how to operate it,�� he joked.

Weapons that can be loaded and fired through the system include 81mm and 120mm mortars currently used by the military, he said.

Advantages of the system include better aim stability and faster deployment, he said.

��I feel proud that we developed the system on our own,�� Chen said, adding that countries such as Israel, South Africa and the United States also have similar systems.

The system includes a function to simulate the firing of a mortar. During the tour, a five-member group from the 202nd Arsenal demonstrated a simulated firing of mortars through the system, which targeted the Taipei 101 building, which was about 3.8 kilometers away.

It took about five years to develop the system, Chen said, adding that the project started in 2010 in line with the ministry’s policy of building a self-reliant defense.

��Locally developed systems are less expensive�� than those acquired from foreign countries, he noted.

The system has passed initial tests and has participated in a live-fire drill, Chen said, adding that further tests will be held early next year.

Also showcased in Friday’s tour was a weapons platform that includes an electric server and fire control system. The main feature of the system, developed by the 202nd Arsenal and shown in previous air shows, is a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

Among the other items on display was a gas mask designed by the arsenal that it said better fits the faces of Taiwanese people.

Under the Armaments Bureau’s Materiel Production Center, the 202nd Arsenal is responsible for producing artillery and ammunition; anti nuclear, biological and chemical equipment; and batteries for the military.

It has three units, one in Taipei and two in the eastern county of Yilan.