Elbit Systems of Israel exhibited in public for the first time its Crossbow turreted mortar system at the 2023 edition of DSEI London, which adds a further element to the company mortar portfolio
Providing heavy calibre mortar firepower to medium and heavy formations while allowing personnel to fight under protection, this the aim of Elbit Systems engineers who designed the Crossbow, the newly born member of the company family of mortar systems, the Elbit experience in this field dating back 70 years. The Crossbow was designed to fit on 6×6 and 8×8 vehicles and, of course, also on tracked vehicles.
The company offers the Crossbow with a basic Level 1 protection, but the structure is capable to accept add-on armour kits that bring it up to Level 4, should the customer require it, With that protection the Crossbow weight will not exceed 3.2 tonnes.
The system is fully automated, and is interfaced with the fire control system (FCS) which in turn talks to the battle management system. Once the firing mission assigned, the vehicle comes to a halt and the mortar is ready to fire, the first round being off in less than 30 seconds. Automatic loading allows firing 10 rounds in the first minute, sustained firing rate being 6 rounds per minute.
Ammunition is hosted in a carousel from which the automatic loading system picks it up and rams the round in the breech which closes automatically. If the firing solution has been provided in time the operator will load the rounds in the carousel fitted with the right number of charges; in case of immediate action the carousel geometry allows him or her to take off the exceeding charges.
The Crossbow is fitted with a 3 meters long barrel that allows a range of around 10 km with maximum charge. It can fire all standard 120 mm ammunition of the high explosive, illuminant and smoke type, as well as the company Iron Sting guided ammunition. EDR On-Line understood that in this case the loading system would automatically load the data in the round with inputs coming from the FCS. According to Elbit Systems the click on image to enlargeCrossbow can fire on the move.
The Crossbow has an elevation arc of +87°/-3° and is therefore also capable to carry out direct fire actions, should the need arise. It also feature a multiple round simultaneous impact mode, where a maximum of six rounds would fall together on the target at the same time. Of course due to the different trajectory this cannot happen at all ranges, the capability being implemented in the 2.5-5 km range. For self-defence use a 12.7 mm machine gu is installed on the right side of the 120 mm barrel.
The Crossbow automatic mortar system was developed by Elbit Systems’ Land under an Israel Defense Force contract, interaction between the forces and the industry being constant, the Israeli Defence Forces planning to initially field it in a border protection role, probably in a containerised version. The system is MIL-STD-810G compliant.
According to the company the Crossbow is still in the research and development stage, and has just cleared the preliminary design review (PDR) hurdle. Elbit is planning firing for the first time from the new barrel the week after DSEI, which will be followed by the loading system tests, to reach the final testing phase in Q2 2024. Beside the use in Israel, Elbit Systems looks at the export market, one of its first targets being to install it on British Army Boxers,
Photos courtesy Elbit and P. Valpolini