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Israel: Iron Sting Guided Mortar Munition debuts on the battlefield

By Arie Egozi

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) conducted their first operational use of the Elbit Systems Iron Sting Guided Mortar Munition, effectively targeting locations in Gaza and Lebanon.

 

The special munition, according to the company, offers a range of 1-12 km, dependent on the mortar tube.

The company specifies that three modes of operation—GPS/IMU, SAL+GPS/IMU, and SAL+IMU—provide robust capabilities in all battle scenarios. Iron Sting is equipped with a laser sensor capable of functioning with standard pulse (NATO STANAG 3722) and an encoded CW laser diode, which is lightweight and cost-effective, suitable for small drones and UAS.

 

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The warhead can penetrate Double Reinforced Concrete (DRC) and has a blast and fragmentation effect. The mortar bomb incorporates a multi-mode fuze with Point Detonation (PD), Point Detonation Delay (PDD), and proximity sensor (PRX) operating modes. Loading time for missions is a quick 15 seconds, and meteorological data is not required.

Iron Sting is a networked precision fire system—a mortar munition using laser and GPS to accurately engage targets, minimizing collateral damage. Thanks to the networked system, the mortar can hit multiple targets simultaneously in real time.

This advanced mortar munition is launched from the “Cardom” mortar system, mounted on an M113 APC, and the “Cardom Spear” system, mounted on a Hummer 4X4 SUV.

The Cardom is equipped with an advanced embedded Fire Control System (FCS), combining an Inertial Navigation System (INS), electrical drives for automatic laying, and an onboard ballistic computer. It easily integrates with an in-service Battle Management System (BMS), providing a direct digital link to modern forward observer (FO) target acquisition sensors, including UAS, Radars, and other detection systems. According to Elbit, the Cardom can deliver a “first round on target” within 30-60 seconds and has a rate of fire of up to 16 rounds per minute.

 

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This new mortar round is compatible with the upgraded version of the Cardom, the Spear MK2, an enhanced iteration of the operationally proven Spear mortar system—a 120 mm fully autonomous modular mortar system. The Spear MK2 has a high recoil reduction capability. According to Elbit, the upgraded system offers improved situational awareness, wider area coverage, quick deployment, and has autonomous or manual activation, requiring only two-three crew members. The mortar system can be deployed and operational within just sixty seconds, featuring a command and control system that provides battlefield management and situational awareness capabilities, fire mission prioritization, and personnel assignment monitoring.

The Iron Sting is engineered for precise engagement of targets in both open terrain and urban environments while reducing the risk of collateral damage and harm to non-combatants. Its operational use, program managers say, will transform ground warfare and equip battalions with organic, precise, and effective firepower.

 

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