SPEAR Mortar System

We don’t usually cover artillery but the SPEAR Mortar System was definitely one of the niftiest new products that were on display at Eurosatory 2014. Manufactured by Elbit Systems, Israel, this 120mm mortar is an evolution of the Cardom system used by the US Army, IDF and a number of NATO armies.

The SPEAR is designed to be low recoil and is the first mortar system that allows full-power 120mm mortar rounds to be fired from light combat vehicles such as the HMMWV platform. The recoil force has been reduced by more than 2/3 from 30 tons to less than 10 tons.

spear motor2


SPEAR requires a crew of just two and can be configured for fully-autonomous operation. It has a sustained rate of 15 rounds per minute. As you would expect, it can be linked into Battle Management Systems and operate independently or as part of a networked battery. SPEAR has a CEP of 30m (50% of rounds will land within a circle with a radius of 30 meters).

Something for Alex to upgrade to when he gets bored of his .50 Browning.

Thanks to Lionel for the photos.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • wetcorps

    People have been rigging various rocket launchers and canons on Toyota pick-up trucks for quite some time now, with. They just took this concept and made it expensive enough to be considered by the army 🙂

  • S O

    The “sustained rate of fire” cannot physically be 15 rpm. The barrel has no cooling system (such as a water cooling jacket as known from naval rapid fire guns) and it’s no captive piston or similar system, so the barrel heats up and rate of fire has to drop well below 15 rpm after a minute or two to balance heat input and cooldown.

    The CEP of a mortar depends very much on several variables, not the least on firing range, type of ammunition used and accuracy of meteoreological information (winds prediction). A simple assertion about the CEP as seen here is essentially meaningless.

    The Singaporean 120 mm SRAMS mortar system is similar, and was shown on Eurosatory on a light vehicle six years ago already. And claims that SPEAR can be mounted on lighter vehicles than SRAMS are questionable, as barrel recoil distances don’t appear to differ much.

    Other developers demonstrated a 105 mm howitzer (“Hawkeye”) on a HMMWV-sized vehicle a couple years ago (= much greater range).

    The SPEAR video (especially its comparison with artillery) is in part an insult to the audience’s intelligence or competence. I saw it a while ago and still didn’t figure out whom they targeted as audience.

    • Steve Truffer

      Might be sustainable if it only carries a load of 40 or so.

      • S O

        DoD’s and NATO’s Definition for “sustained rate of fire”:
        “Actual rate of fire that a weapon can continue to deliver
        for an indefinite length of time without seriously overheating.”

        Ready ammunition of the vehicle doesn’t play into this.

    • bbmg

      The future is not in improving the rate of fire but rather accuracy. ATK is working on a precision guidance kit for the 120mm: http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2010armament/TuesdayCumberlandKellyHanink.pdf

      With a CEP of 10m, this means the vast majority of rounds will land within 20 metres of the target – and 10-20 metres of distance doesn’t really protect you from 3 pounds of high explosive going off.

      The proliferation of relatively cheap and accurate guidance systems means that modern armies can do a lot more with less.

      • SSGJohn

        Working on? We had that stuff in 2012 in Afghanistan. Still waiting for the 105mm PGK, though.
        Source: US Army Artillery FDC Chief that worked very closely with mortars.

        • bbmg

          Just because it’s in service it doesn’t mean they stopped working on it 😉

      • S O

        About a decade ago there were dozens of 120 mm PGM projects world-wide.

        And “The proliferation of relatively cheap and accurate guidance systems means that modern armies can do a lot more with less.” is optimistic.
        In reality, it’s different; the newly-gained accuracy makes many more fire missions worthwhile, so the “less” part is overly optimistic in the grand picture.

        • bbmg

          If those fire missions meant that a target was destroyed by a local mortar instead of say an air asset or a special forces team, then in the grand scheme of things you’re still economizing.

  • Zachary marrs

    Might be a step up from this


    Now I’m waiting for M1 Abrams and M2 Bradleys to be fitted with rail-cannons.

  • ozzallos .
  • gunslinger

    sky pig strikes again.

  • AK™

    Add 5 more barrels and you got yourself a 2014 Nebelwerfer..

  • Sam Pensive

    hope the current military mindset will get the program and plan on
    sending ground units out WITH big shots like this.
    simple AR shells don’t seem the correct response to RPG’s incoming from
    my perspective.

  • Sam Pensive

    also am i correct in thinking that a recoil brace system on the platform (HMMWV platform shown) would improve that aspect of the accuracy in a significant way? little truck kicks A__ when those shells leave the tube.

  • jonspencer

    With some of newer 120mm PERM rounds having a 20 km range and a CEP of 2 meters this should get some to thinking.

  • IXLR8

    A round every 4 seconds, with a flight time of 23 seconds at 5km. You could put 5 rounds in the air at once. Impressive, if you have the skills to do it….

  • IXLR8

    I would leave someone in the drivers seat, to help avoid the counter-battery return fire. Shoot and move.
    They found a way to make a $5,000.00 mortar cost a $500,000.00, good for them!

  • dan citizen

    Isn’t it a little overkill against kids who throw rocks?

  • Secundius

    How does it compare with US made Dragonfire 4.7-inch (120mm) automortar system.