Artillery: Magical Mortars Appear In Syria


June 18, 2017: In early 2017 it was noted that among the additional weapons being delivered to secular Syrian rebels (backed by a U.S. led coalition) were EIMOS truck mounted 81mm mortar systems. This is a recently (2015) introduced system that uses a recoil mechanism to enable the mortar to be safely fired from a pickup type truck. The version SDF (Syrian Kurd led rebels) received each had the mortar, fire control system and 54 81mm mortar shells on board. A crew of four handles the vehicle and mortar which can hit targets up to about 5,000 meters. A typical 81mm high-explosive shell will land within 10 meters of the target at a range of a few thousand meters. When one off these shells explodes they will cause casualties out to about 30 meters (100 feet). If nothing else it gets the attention of those in the target area and “suppresses” (to use the military term) their intended activities.

Bahrain was the first official customer for EIMOS and received EIMOS vehicles in 2016. Bahrain was apparently where the SDF EIMOS vehicles came from. Many initially thought these were American systems because the SDF also received armed hummers as well as some Stryker wheeled armored vehicles. But on closer examination it was easy to figure out that this was a new design for a rather new type of mobile artillery.

Israel pioneered the development and use of ”soft recoil” systems for vehicle mounted mortars. This recoil system reduces the force of the recoil by over 70 percent and allows 120mm mortars to be mounted in hummers and 81mm mortars in pickup trucks. The addition of computer controlled GPS navigation with modern fire control systens enables systems like this to halt and fire accurately within 30 seconds or less. Israel was also one of the developers of more accurate mortar fire control systems.

Israel first introduced a soft-recoil equipped system in 2004 when a 1.6 ton Israeli 120mm mortar was mounted in a seven ton Supacat HMT (High Mobility Transport). HMT is four wheel cross country vehicle with a capacity for 3.2 tons. The cab was modified to hold the five man mortar crew. The Israeli mortar system was mounted on a computer controlled turntable. The mortar fired regular 120mm shells 8.2 kilometers, or rocket assisted ones 13 kilometers. In 2012 Israel introduced an 81mm version of this system and Spain was one of the first to receive six of these low recoil 81mm systems mounted in a VAMTAC military truck (similar to the American hummer) with a payload of about two tons. Since most Moslem nations are still reluctant to buy weapons directly from Israel there are a lot of non-Israeli manufacturers who license Israeli tech and export it as their own. The Kurds have actually become enthusiastic users of Israeli military tech, as have the Turks (until an Islamic political party took power in 2000) and a few other Moslem nations outside the Middle East. The Spanish EIMOS system is designed for even lighter four wheel vehicles and can use an 81mm or even lighter 60mm mortar system. Both depend on the low-recoil system to minimize stress on the truck.