War Hatchet: Israel Orders More Cardom Self-Propelled Mortars
In September 2011, Elbit Systems announced a 4-year, $40 million Israeli contract for its Soltam Systems Ltd. subsidiary’s “Cardom” (Eng. “Hatchet”) 120mm mortar systems. Built around Soltam’s 120mm recoil mortar system, Cardom can be fitted to any medium armored vehicle, offering advanced fire control, navigation, and automatic aiming/pointing capabilities. The USA uses it in wheeled M1129 Stryker MC APCs, for instance, though many elements can also be found in M1064 variants of the tracked M113.
Israel has used Keshet (Eng. “Bow”) M113 tracked APC(armored personnel carrier) variants as their Cardom platform, since the system was deployed with the Nahal Infantry Brigade in 2007. The recent arrival of precision 120mm mortar shells, such as IAI’s Fireball, or ATK’s APMI, adds precision to the 120mm mortar’s traditional virtues of simplicity and low cost. That’s especially important for armies who want to use mortar fire in urban combat, but wish to limit civilian casualties.