Netherlands acquires 15 Mjölner mortar vehicles from BAE Systems Hägglunds

By Defence Industry Europe

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has announced the acquisition of 15 Mjölner mortar vehicles from Swedish manufacturer BAE Systems Hägglunds. These new 120mm mortar systems will be integrated into the CV90 chasis, enhancing the mobile ground-based fire support capabilities of the Dutch Armed Forces. The first vehicles are expected to be deployed to operational units by 2028. With this purchase, the Netherlands becomes the second country, after Sweden, to integrate this advanced weapons system.

 

According to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), the Mjölner mortar vehicle is a sophisticated weapon system featuring a mortar function mounted on a CV90 chassis. Each vehicle is operated by a crew of four, including a driver. The turret is equipped with two 120-millimetre barrels capable of firing up to sixteen rounds per minute.

The Dutch Ministry of Defence stated that the 81 mm mortars will be replaced by the 120mm CV90 systems. The 120mm mortars have a significantly greater range of 7-12 kilometers compared to the 6 kilometers of the 81mm mortars, as well as a higher rate of fire. The system is also faster and more accurate, thanks to the support of modern C4I (command, control, communications, and intelligence) systems and GPS-guided munitions.

 

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The current 81mm mortars, transported in small Fennek reconnaissance vehicles, need to be set up outside the vehicle. In contrast, the new 120mm mortars will be mounted on the more robust and larger CV90 chassis. This provides better protection for soldiers due to the stronger armour, and they no longer need to leave the vehicle to operate the weapons. Additionally, there is more space on board for personnel, ammunition, and equipment.

The Netherlands has long utilised the CV90 and is currently undergoing a mid-life upgrade (MLU) of its fleet, scheduled to be completed by 2026 by Dutch industry. This upgrade will ensure the vehicles remain operationally relevant until the end of their service life in 2039. Recently, the first vehicle of this upgraded series was completed, marking a significant milestone in the modernisation programme.

In January 2023, FMV expanded their order with an additional 20 Mjölner vehicles, bringing the total number in the Swedish Armed Forces to 80.

 

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The new 120mm mortar systems, along with other upgrades, form an integral part of a layered ground-based fire support system designed to support armoured infantry units. They are intended to counter enemy (lightly) armoured units and dismounted infantry, contributing significantly to the current and future operational capabilities of the Dutch armoured infantry.

The addition of the Mjölner mortar vehicles is expected to significantly enhance the operational capabilities of the Dutch mechanised units, providing them with greater flexibility and firepower in various combat scenarios. Notably, the Netherlands will not be the only NATO country to utilise the CV90 120mm system, as Sweden, the original user, also employs this advanced system.

 

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