The Cardom “Hatchet” is an Israeli 81mm/120mm Recoil Mortar System (RMS) manufactured by Soltam Systems (Elbit).
It is used by the US Army, the Israel Defence Forces, NATO countries, and others, as well as by Azerbaijan.
The Cardom is an autonomous, computerized system for mounting on light and medium armored carriers. The system uses a new Computerized Integrated Navigation and Self Positioning and Aiming systems.
Its modern Target Acquisition Devices together with a specially designed Recoiling Mortar System, attenuates the firing loads and enables mounting the systems on wheeled and tracked AFVs, or even soft-skinned vehicles such as trucks.
The Cardom Aiming mechanisms are linked to state-of-the-art command, control and communication systems to achieve quick response automatic laying mode.
The IDF delivered Cardom system takes target acquisition data that provides range, bearing, position and other data from an observation point and transmits it directly to the Cardom system; using electrical servo motors, the mortar barrel is then set at the exact traverse and elevation angles ready for firing.
The 120 mm Cardom has a firing rate of 16 rpm, followed by a 4 rpm sustained rate of fire.
The Cardom Recoil Mortar System has been qualified for fielding with the 3rd US Army Stryker brigade and will be coupled to the US Army’s M95 Mortar Fire Control System on the M1129 Mortar Carrier.
Israel has used Keshet ( “Bow”) M113 tracked APC (armored personnel carrier) variants as their Cardom platform, since the system was deployed with the Nahal Infantry Brigade external link in 2007.
The 2011 arrival of precision 120mm mortar shells, such as IAI’s Fireball external link, or ATK’s APMI, adds precision to the 120mm mortar’s traditional virtues of simplicity and low cost. That’s especially important for armies who want to use mortar fire in urban combat, but wish to limit civilian casualties.
The video below shows firing in Karabakh of the Israeli Soltam (Elbit Systems) CARDOM ‘Hatchet’ self-propelled howitzer of the Azerbaijani army.
The installation was carried out on the chassis of a Mercedes (4×4) car.
The photograph shows a shooting practice of the installation from April 2020.
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