In a First, Elbit Systems’ Iron Sting Guided Mortar Munition Used by IDF

By Arie Egozi

Foreign Affairs

Tel Aviv: The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) made the first operational use of the Elbit Systems’ Iron Sting Guided Mortar Munition to precisely hit targets in Gaza and Lebanon. The special munition according to the company offers a range of 1-12 km, depending on the mortar tube.

According to the company, three modes of operation, GPS/IMU, SAL+GPS/IMU and SAL+IMU provide robust capabilities in all battle scenarios. Iron Sting features a seeker laser sensor capable of operating with standard pulse (NATO STANAG 3722) and an encoded CW laser diode (lightweight and low-cost, suitable for small drones and UAS). The warhead is capable of penetrating Double Reinforced Concrete (DRC) with a blast and fragmentation effect. The mortar bomb features a multi-mode fuze with Point Detonation (PD), Point Detonation Delay (PDD) and proximity sensor (PRX) operating modes. Mission loading time is 15 seconds, and no meteorological data is required.

Iron Sting is a networked precision fire system – a mortar munition that employs laser and GPS to engage targets accurately and prevent collateral damage. The use of a networked system enables the mortar to engage many target in a very short time as it receives data on targets in real time. The advanced mortar munition is fired from the  “Cardom” mortar system, mounted on an M113 APC and a “Cardom Spear” system, mounted on a Hummer 4X4 SUV. The Cardom’s advanced embedded Fire Control System (FCS) combines an Inertial Navigation System (INS), electrical drives for automatic laying, and an onboard ballistic computer.

According to Elbit Systems, it is easily integrated with an in-service Battle Management System (BMS). Together, these provide a direct digital link to modern forward observer (FO) target acquisition sensors including UAS, Radars and other detection systems. The Cardom includes a modern and battle-proven shoot-and-scoot capability allowing “first round on target” within 30-60 seconds and massive firepower with a rate of fire of up to 16 rounds per minute.

The new mortar round can be also used with the upgraded version of the Cardom – the Spear MK2, an upgraded version of the operationally proven Spear mortar system. This is a 120 mm fully autonomous modular mortar system. The Spear’s latest version has a high recoil reduction capability.

The upgraded system provides improved situational awareness, wider area coverage, quick deployment and has autonomous or manual activation requiring only two-three crew members, according to the company. The mortar system is deployed and operational within only sixty seconds, equipped with a command and control system providing battlefield management and situational awareness capabilities, fire missions’ prioritization and monitoring of personnel assignments.

The Iron Sting is designed to engage targets precisely, in both open terrains and urban environments, while reducing the possibility of collateral damage and preventing injury to non-combatants. Its operational use will revolutionise ground warfare and equip battalions with organic, accurate and effective firepower, says the program managers.