October 18, 2007 BAE Systems has won a US$13.9 million contract to supply its M326 120-mm Mortar Stowage System to the U.S. Army. The hydraulic lift system is designed for loading 300-pound mortar tubes out of humvee trailers - freeing up the 3-4 soldiers normally required for the task and facilitating faster firing and movement of the weapon.
The M326 120-mm Mortar System is a simple and rugged device that can be attached to the M1101 Trailer for the High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or a variety of other vehicles that serve as a prime movers for 120-mm mortar systems. It significantly reduces mortar crew workload by using a hydraulic system to hoist the fully assembled M120 Mortar, which weighs more than 300 pounds, into and out of the trailer or vehicle used to haul the weapon.
The assembled mortar base plate, tube and bipod are held together as a unit by a steel strut that connects the mortar to the M326 lift arm. The hydraulic lifting enables rapid weapon set-up and removal. During tests, mount and dismount of a fully assembled M120 Mortar have been achieved in less than 20 seconds and in the field the device is expected to cut launch times by 80 percent.
The contract calls for BAE Systems to begin low-rate initial production immediately and deliver the first 52 M326 systems to the Army by September 2008. BAE Systems will deliver an additional 536 systems through full-rate production, which will begin immediately following the low-rate initial production completion. The systems will be assembled at BAE Systems’ Louisville, Kentucky facility.
The contract also includes options for funding the delivery of up to 100 additional systems as well as new equipment training, installation, warehousing and spares. If all options are exercised, the contract could grow to US$20.5 million. The life of a soldier is hard enough but the Quickstow should help make it just that little bit easier.
For further info visit BAE Systems.