Test Firing of Mortars and Grenade Launchers. Works 11 Field Demonstration

October 31, 2017, 3:08 PM

During the field demonstration of a part of its offer, the Katowice-based Works 11 company presented a variety of armament. The demo featured equipment that could potentially become a part of the inventory kit used by the newly formed Territorial Defence branch of the Polish Armed Forces. However, no direct suggestions as such were made.

The demonstration took place, partially, within the shooting range of the Dynamic Test Centre of the Military Institute of Armament Technology in Stalowa Wola (with regards to optronics). The second part of the demo took place within the Artillery Range of the Nowa Dęba Land Forces Field Training Centre. The presentation involved representatives of the logistical units of the Armed Forces, troops and commanding staff of the Special Forces, as well as representatives of the military research facilities. The equipment was being showcased by the Works 11 experts and manufacturer representatives hailing from the United States of America, Czech Republic and France.

Image Credit: Jerzy Reszczyński

On the third day of the presentation at the Nowa Dęba range, in tough but typical weather conditions, at least for the Polish climate: strong and variable winds, rain and at a high level of humidity; grenade launchers, mortars and a number of warheads for the ammunition were all presented. The weather made it difficult to fully demonstrate and present the showcased hardware, e.g. it was not easy to conduct full range firing of the Antos LR mortar. The requirement to leave the range due to the reservation made by the Military Institute of Armament Technology, working on its own research programme, forced the organizers to resign from the planned 73 mm SPG-9 heavy grenade launcher demonstration. The said weapon is going through a renaissance, as new types of ammunition have been developed for it (RHEF 9MA-GHEF-9MA, 9MA-GHEAT-9LDMA and RTB 9MA-GTB 9MA).

The test firing was conducted against targets (targets and vehicle wrecks) at distances ranging from 200 to 1000 metres. Fragmentation and air-blast ammunition capabilities were the main subjects of the presentation. It shall be noted that the “Antos” mortar, that has been known within the Polish Armed Forces for 8 years now, is undergoing a process of polonization, and it is soon to be manufactured domestically. It is treated as a “first contact” light tactical infantry support weapon. Weight of 5.5 kg in combat setting and simplicity of use with the liquid sight embedded within the mortar’s structure, constitute the main advantages of the system.

Image Credit: Works 11

The manufacturer places a great emphasis on the rate of fire offered by the system. Moreover, the fact that the mortar has a range of 1200 metres range was also pointed out. The conventional Antos LR mortar on a bipod differs in the barrel length (1000 mm instead of 650 mm) and higher pressure achieved in the barrel (54 MPa, instead of 18 Mpa). The standard weapon is characterized by a range of up to 2900 metres, with the very same type of ammunition being used. This, and the effect of using the HEI air-blast warheads make this mortar's effectiveness reach the level equivalent to an 82 mm calibre systems of this class (comparison of pressure build-up generated as a result of detonation of the rounds). The Antos mortars’ manufacturer already declared that Extended Range version is to be premiered next year, with its range reaching up to 3500-3600 metres. Works 11 assures that efforts are being made to initiate production of the Antos mortar in Poland. So far, no detailed information within that scope has been released. Details also remain unknown, when it comes to the process of acquiring a manufacturing license, so that the mortar would become a Polish product.

Image Credit: Works 11

PSRL (RPG-7V counterpart) rocket-propelled grenade launcher has also been presented during the show. The system is a multiple-use design developed by the US-based Airtronic company. The launcher in question has been tailored to utilize any kind of ammunition for the popular RPG-7 grenade launchers. In comparison to the original design which works properly e.g. with the Chinese grenades, the US-made solution is to provide the operator with an ability to use any effector. Contrary to its Russian/Soviet counterpart designed back in the 1960s, the US-made PSRL, premiered in 2009, has a precisely machined barrel with tighter tolerances, made out of the 4140/4150 alloy.

The modified manufacturing process provides a longer lifetime and durability of the system (at 1000 shots), as well as longer range and better accuracy, with the use of the very same ammunition types. The barrel features seven Picatinny rails that may accommodate extra equipment, including sights and target designators, extra grip or stock derived from the M4 carbine. The launcher, without any extra equipment, weighs 6.35 kg and is 915 mm long.

The Russian prerequisite has the same weight but it is a bit longer. According to the manufacturer, the launcher, depending on the utilized ammunition, has a maximum range of 920-2100 metres and effective range of 800-1000 metres. This has not been shown during the demonstration, as only a single type, instead of several (PG-7MW, RTB-7MA and RHEF-7MA oraz RF-7MA) kinds of ammo, was utilized.

This may have been caused by the weather involving strong wind, having a significant impact on rocket-propelled grenades’ trajectory, but also the above situation may also be related to the level of training, experience and aptitude of the shooter. Even if effective range of 300-500 metres may be ascribed to the RPG-7 launcher, after the demonstration a similar thesis may be created with regards to the PSRL system.

Jerzy Reszczyński

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