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Mechanized Mortar Support

Almost instant, laser-based ground support system.
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(+1, -4)
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Calling in an airstrike on certain ground targets, when including hours for servicing any aircraft, can get quite costly. Also, considering the time it takes for air support to show up, it could take minutes more than you actually have, if you are holed up. For an advancing frontline, mechanized mortar support could make a world of difference.

The system implements 4 technologies:

A mechanized mortar aiming system: Allows relative coordinates to be entered, and the mortar trajectory automatically realigned by machine.

A mechanized mortar loading & firing system: humans will only be needed to monitor the system, and do the actual firing. different types of rounds could be automatically loaded, and any special rounds could be loaded manually by muzzle. The system would be breach-loaded to allow for faster automation.

An computerized environmental conditions monitoring system: conditions that will be monitored are: wind speed and direction, air density/temperature, propellent temperature, mortar tube temperature, GPS, or specified coordinates, direction. Analyzing this data, the system will make adjustments in trajectory to ensure more accurate fire.

A GPS & laser based targeting system: Allows for ground troops, being GPS tracked, and to lase a target with a gun-mounted device. Using their GPS coordinates, adjusting for a lasered range, and using an internal compass for direction, mortar support could be ordered within seconds. Buttons on the targeting device will do the ordering, and with radio confirmation with a human and safeguards for targets within a safety range, a mortar round could be landing within 20 seconds upon request. An alternate to a laser based targeting system, would be a mini-touch screen which would incorporate maps of the area, of which any area could be selected for mortar support, also showing your current position.

If Military GPS is as accurate as I am hearing, it shouldn't be a problem to have accuracy of rounds be within 30 meters of a target, considering a distance of a few miles away, and even more accurate as mortar support gets closer.

As only the targeting system will be incorporating new technologies, no new developments would be required concerning the mortar rounds themselves, although with an innovation like this, it would not be difficult.

Other technologies automate mortar fire, but his iteration is meant to be an ultra-portable solution, being able to be towed by a humvee, being very mobile. The savings on man power and negating the need for close air support (in many situations, but not all) would make it cost effective to start.

twitch, Mar 26 2010


       Do people not have artillery anymore?
coprocephalous, Mar 26 2010

       They have artillery, but not a breach-loaded, 60 rounds/minute breach-loaded solution, that reduces artillery teams from 5 to just 2, which is also portable enough to be built into the back of a humvee.   

       Serious, you guys have a huge problem with the generalization of ideas.
twitch, Mar 26 2010

       Having //accuracy of rounds be within 30 meters of a target// isn't nearly accurate enough when the battlefield is engaging an enemy which is encamped within the very civilian population which one's army is employed to protect.   

       This is the exact problem American troops and air support missions are facing currently in Afghanistan. It is not that the opposition is invincible, but removing them forcibly has entailed so much collateral damage to civilians that we risk winning all the battles but losing the sentiment of the people we are fighting to protect, and thereby failing the entire purpose of the war.
jurist, Mar 27 2010

       If an area was civilian populated, why would you be using explosive rounds anyway? Certainly it is up to the engager to determine what is within the rules of engagement. It is a reduction in man power and an increased support time for troops that would be of most benefit.
twitch, Mar 27 2010

       // a breach-loaded, 60 rounds/minute breach-loaded solution, //
Is breach-loading important?
Only you mentioned it twice.

       60 rounds a minute? How many tubes are we talking about?   

       sp. "metres"
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 27 2010

       I don't think you could ever reach 60 rounds/minute without breach-loading. Just 1 tube. How many tubes does a regular machine-gun have?   

       For some reason, I figured this place would have a more collaborative spirit with all ideas. I mean, what a waste of perfectly genius brainpower. All you guys are real smart, but many of you choose to only say "baked" about many ideas.
twitch, Mar 27 2010

       " For some reason, I figured this place would have a more collaborative spirit with all ideas "   

       [twitch], you've been here long enough that nobody should have to direct you to the help file.
normzone, Mar 27 2010

       It's all about cost I guess, as well as for many of my other ideas. You're really not interested in lessening our bloated military budget?
twitch, Mar 29 2010

       First, I love Halfbakery. It's very simple and open system is just awesome. All text based, it's blazing fast, especially for me, who gets mad at a few passing seconds wasted. Is there a different venue for a more critically constructive approach? I know there's TED: Idea's worth sharing, but that's a VERY different venue. What you get here is significantly different. I would call it Coerced Creativity.
twitch, Mar 29 2010

       I'm struggling to imagine a mechanism capable of safely autoloading a single (presumably large calibre) mortar tube at that kind of rate, small enough to be towed by a Humvee.   

       Did you get bored with merely machinegunning the bad guys in COD4 [twitch]?
coprocephalous, Mar 29 2010

       How do they figure-out the trajectories for normal, man-portable mortars? Presumably there's a charge of a known power, they know the weight of the projectile, and they set the angle and elevation of the tube so that it goes in the right direction. Or do they set one up roughly, and then go through a series of "left a bit", "right a bit" iterations until they hit what they're hoping to hit?   

       The laser guided bit might be tricky since the mortar is primarily an indirect-fire weapon - so you wouldn't expect it to be able to be in line-of-sight of any laser reflection - at least not without potentially getting shot at, which negates what the mortar is for in the first place (i.e. close support ad-hoc artillery)   

       Adding GPS based angle and elevation settings into a computer is a reasonable idea (I wonder, but they used to use slide-rules to do those calculations didn't they?) maybe linked to an augmented reality headset that would project an image of the blast-location onto the environment, or into a 2 or 3d virtualisation of that environment.
zen_tom, Mar 29 2010

       //How about like Metal Storm thing//
Of course, if a bullet gets stuck in the tube (and I think Metal Storm has safeguards against blocked tube / misfires), it is no big deal if the next round behind fires. You may get a ruptured tube, or it may just clear the tube. Mortar rounds, on the other hand...
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 29 2010

       Is it really hard to imagine? Come on! get imaginative! Make it a hybrid breach, where each shot is shelled, with a shell that is thick enough to be used multiple times. Have a rotating or chained breach.
twitch, Mar 29 2010

       Tis weapon would not replace the need for close air support. There are three basic infantry mortars in the US inventroy- the 60mm, the 81 mm and the 4.2" or 106mm. An air strike delivered ordinance weighs in from 250 to 3000 lbs (and more) and can deliver cluster bombs that devastate areas the size of five football fields. The small unit sized weapons like the 60 mm and the 81 mm mortars have very limited range (in the case of the larger weapon, only out to about 3.2 miles and only max about 2 miles for the smaller weapon) .The two different types of ordinace delivery are not mutually exclusive.
Altoidian, Mar 28 2015


       A breech-loading mortar is technically a howitzer.   

       At 60 rounds per minute, how is the tube cooled?   

       A bare 81mm HE round is about 5 Kg. 300Kg of ammo per minute. Three minutes, well over a ton, because some packaging has to be allowed for.   

       A tracked vehicle could certainly transport a water-cooled automatically fed mortar, its ammunition, fire control system and a crew. But if there was a battlefield requirement it would have been built by now. The gap is better filled by mulilaunch rocket systems which have very high rates of fire, big payloads and much longer range.
8th of 7, Mar 28 2015

       //...and can deliver cluster bombs that devastate areas the size of five football fields.//   


       The only way to really definitively take a football field beyond use is to grant planning permission and sell to the highest bidder.
Loris, Mar 28 2015

       "Dear Mr. Hitler,

       I regret to inform you that your planning application for permission to fortify the entire West coast of Europe by a series of reinforced concrete bunkers and strongpoints has been turned down by the Planning Committee ....."
8th of 7, Mar 28 2015

       //An computerized environmental conditions monitoring system//   

       Stylistic point: Ignoring the "n" of "an", what you have here would go over better with some scope-disambiguation.   

       If the expression quoted above were a mathematical one, you might add brackets, somewhat like this:   

       //A computerized (((environmental conditions) monitoring) system)// That is, it's probably a computerized system for monitoring environmental conditions, and not, for example, a computerized-environmental system for monitoring conditions.   

       Since the English language doesn't really support this used of brackets, and since you can't nest hyphens, this sort of problem in sentence-engineering is normally best addressed using subordinate clauses.
pertinax, Mar 29 2015

       Regarding the idea content: it does sound a lot like MLRS to me.   

       As I understand it, the main appeal of mortars is that they are very cheap and low-tech (so, you make them in large numbers and throw them away if they break); the old Soviet army used to pack a lot of them for this reason, as a way to take best advantage of their strength in numbers.   

       Once you start getting fancy with a mortar, then you might be better off not starting with a mortar at all.
pertinax, Mar 29 2015


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