The South Korean Army has received the first lot of 120mm self-propelled mortar systems to improve the capabilities of its mechanised units.

The new systems will replace the older 4.2-inch mortars, Yonhap news agency reported, citing the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).

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The deployment will continue through to 2025 under a $648.9m acquisition programme that also includes the development of fire direction centre vehicles.

The 120mm mortars will be mounted on armoured carriers and fire direction centre vehicles, to assist close fire support operations.

According to the DAPA, the new mortars have a longer striking range and stronger firepower compared to the 4.2-inch mortars, which have been in service for more than four decades.

The 120mm self-propelled mortar systems are developed and assembled by the local firm S&T Dynamics. Defence company Hanwha Defense supplied the carrier for the new mortar.

DAPA Maneuver Program Department brigadier general Cho Hyun-ki was quoted by Yonhap as saying: “The 120-mm self-propelled mortar is a core asset that elevates the operational capacities of South Korean mechanised units, in charge of offensive manoeuvre missions, to another level.”

Hanwha Defense recently signed an agreement with Egypt’s defence ministry to deliver K9 self-propelled howitzers to the African nation.

The deal, which includes the transfer of technologies and the production of K9s in Egypt, values more than $1.65bn.

Egypt is the first African nation to procure K9 self-propelled howitzers.