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Israeli Automated Mortar Becomes A Star
by James Dunnigan
July 20, 2012

Israel has delivered the first six of its 81mm CARDOM mortar systems to Spain. The CARDOM is a mortar system that is low recoil, so that it can be carried in unarmored vehicles. Spain will carry the 81mm CARDOM in VAMTACs (a vehicle similar to the hummer). The U.S. used the 120mm version of CARDOM on Stryker wheeled armored vehicles in Iraq.

Originally designed for 120mm mortars, CARDOM was easily modified to work with 81mm mortars as well. The 120mm version has a range of 8,000 meters while the 81mm is about half that. The major innovation of CARDOM is its automation. Forward observers can transmit digital target location information to the CARDOM mortars, which automatically uses a system of small electric motors to precisely aim the mortar tube. The gunner then drops in the shells one at a time. A CARDOM mortar can fire up to 16 shells in the first minute and then four a minute indefinitely after that. If you exceed those limits the tube overheats and that ruins the aim and safe operation of the system.

The first customer for CARDOM, a decade ago, was the Israeli Army, and the troops found the CARDOMs a big improvement over older mortars. The U.S. soon became a customer, followed by several NATO countries. Spain has ordered over a hundred of the 81mm CARDOM mortars.


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