The French Armed Forces Ministry’s Ministerial Investment Committee (CMI) is expected to shortly approve the acquisition of 54 Thales Defense 2R2M vehicle-mounted mortars, the Paris news website La Tribune reported July 10. The weapons will be fitted to a special variant of the French Army’s new Griffon wheeled armored vehicle.
The 120mm Rifled, Recoiled, Mounted Mortar (2R2M), whose vehicle-mounted variant will be known as MEPAC, is under armor and protected by a sliding roof, so it remains undetected while on the move. It takes only a few seconds to begin firing, and is operated by a two-man crew (gunner and loader).
Thanks to its semi-automatic loading system, the mortar can fire ten rounds per minute, "with greater precision compared to the rifled, towed version thanks to its recoil brake," according to Thales Defense’s website. It can then quickly return to travel position and move away from its firing position to avoid counter-battery fire.
The 2R2M mortar has already been exported to Saudi Arabia, Italy, Malaysia and the Sultanate of Oman, who have already opted for this mortar to equip their elite troops. Other countries in Europe, the Middle East and Asia have also shown their interest in the 2R2M mortar, of which it delivered the 100th unit earlier this year.