Since 2008 Poland has launched a 120mm self-propelled mortar system, the M120 Rak, with an automatic loader.
The popularity of the 120mm self-propelled mortar quickly spread not only in Europe but also in other parts of the world. Poland is one of the most active countries in Europe that is rapidly modernizing its armed forces, especially in the context of the growing threat from Russia. Since 2008 Poland has launched a 120mm self-propelled mortar system, the M120 Rak, with an automatic loader. Mass production and first deliveries began in 2017, and are now operated by Polish Land Forces.
The M120 Rak, developed by Huta Stalowa Wola, can be built on a variety of chassis. The manufacturer has introduced a tracked version based on the light HSW tracked chassis, while the wheeled ones are based on the Rosomak APC. The turret is armed with a 120mm breech-loaded mortar system with a barrel length of 3,000mm. The secondary armament includes a 7.62mm UKM 2000 D machine gun equipped with BAZALT day-night gun sight. The 120mm mortar has a rate-of-fire of six to eight rounds a minute and a maximum firing range of 10km. The system can fire at an angle of elevation between -3° and 80° and can traverse 360°.
In addition to standard grenades, it can fire shells with a HEAT charge, fighting armored vehicles, such as combat vehicles, smoke and lighting ammunition. The time of moving from the march position to the combat position is 30 seconds. The firing position can be left within 15 seconds after the last grenade is fired.
The complete Rak mortar system, apart from the latter, includes accompanying vehicles: artillery command vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, technical and logistic support vehicles and armaments repair vehicles. The vehicle is equipped with a digital fire control system, including with a thermal camera and a laser rangefinder, so it can work effectively during the day and at night. The Rak mortar can fire remotely as an unmanned weapon, using commands and data transmitted electronically to the vehicle’s computer.
The wheeled version is based on the chassis of the Rosomak 8×8 armored vehicle. The rear section of its all-welded steel hull houses a large turret. The system is manned by a crew of three including a driver, a commander and a gunner. The mortar vehicle measures 7.7m-long and 2.8m-wide. The driver is seated in the forward hull, while commander and gunner are accommodated in the turret. The vehicle can be accessed through a roof hatch, and a door at the rear hull.
The self-propelled mortar system is equipped with a Scania turbocharged diesel engine combined with a seven-speed automatic transmission, one reverse. The power plant allows the vehicle to run at a maximum speed of 80 km/h on the road, with a range of 500 km. The vehicle is equipped with hydro pneumatic suspension system and can negotiate gradients up to 60% and a side slope of 35%. It is capable of crossing a trench of 2.1m width and a vertical obstacle of 0.5m height, and can ford a depth of 1.5m without preparation.