The South African Army has ordered more mortar ammunition from Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd of Potchefstroom. The latest order, awarded last week, is for R31.310 million. This takes recent mortar bomb orders of various types and calibres to R404 129 770.39.
The orders are in addition to an order worth R214.1 million placed last year May for the acquisition of the Project Acrobat 60mm long-range mortar (LRM) system and ammunition.
The SA Army has has addition ordered other ammunition and pyrotechnics in since August 2009 to replenish stocks that have not been significantly augmented since the end of the Namibian Bush War in 1989. The Armscor tender awards website shows the contracts have principally been placed with state arsenal Denel subsidiaries Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) and Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (RDM).
The SA Army uses three mortar systems – the M1/M4 60mm, M3 81mm and M5 120mm mortar systems in addition to the still to-be-introduced Acrobat weapons that will likely be type-classified the M6.
The Ministry of Defence in September 2006 told Parliament that the SA Army had in the middle of that year placed an order for 102 Project Acrobat LRM for R101 million, with delivery then expected from 2009 to 2010. The deliveries are currently underway.
The number ordered in 2006 was sufficient to equip 12 infantry battalions at a scale of eight tube per unit and leaving six tubes for training. The LRM, with its long-range ammunition, can fire to 6180m and has the lethality range and lethal area substantially better than the M3 81mm mortar, regarded by many as no mean feat.
The Army acquired the type for its airborne (parachute and air assault) as well as motorised infantry, who will likely use it in place of the older M3 81mm mortar as it is lighter at 34kg (compared to the M3’s 42.8kg) to a greater range and effect. The LRM is, however, much heavier than the M1 60mm mortar with bipod (18.7kg) or the M4 patrol mortar (“patmor”) variant at 7.8kg. This, however, has a maximum range of just 2100m.
Procurement of mortar bombs for the SA Army – extension of ESCW/2008/397
SCW/S2010/1643 24 Jun 2011 R31 310 283,68 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
SCW/S2010/1644 12 May 2011 R30 833 499,60 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
SCW/S2010/1547 1 Jul 2010 R10 705 101,46 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
SCW/S2010/1512 23 Jun 2010 R8 620 856,98 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
The procurement of ammunition (mortar bombs) for the South African Army for various financial years
ESCW/2008/397 25 Jun 2009 R279 064 358,10 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
Procurement of 81 mm high explosive bombs
ESCW/2008/500 18 Jun 2009 R14 531 815,35 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
Procurement of 60 mm mortar long range high explosive Bombs
ESCW/2010/89 11 Aug 2010 R14 532 712,02 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd
Procurement of 60 mm mortar long range Smoke Brst bombs
ESCW/2010/90 11 Aug 2010 R14 531 143,20 Rheinmetall Denel Munitions (Pty) Ltd