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‘Iron Sting’: Israel completes testing of ‘groundbreaking’ laser-guided mortar

120mm shell, which offers division-level firepower to battalion-sized forces, touted by Defense Ministry as reducing collateral damage, danger to noncombatants, due to its accuracy

Screen capture from video of the Iron Sting morter during tests. (Defense Ministry)
Screen capture from video of the Iron Sting morter during tests. (Defense Ministry)

A new laser-guided mortar completed trials and will bring greater firepower to smaller units while reducing collateral damage to noncombatants due to its high levels of accuracy, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The Iron Sting 120mm mortar was developed by the ministry along with the Israel Defense Forces and Elbit Systems and, following the successful completion of the tests in the south of the country, is set to be delivered to the army.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in the statement that Israeli industry provides the IDF with technology “that changes the combat arena and gives us more lethal, accurate, and effective means.”

Apparently referring to Israel’s clashes with the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip and the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group in the north, Gantz said the weapon meets the army’s need for “suitable means for combat against enemies who hide among civilian populations, while complying with the legal and value standards set by the State of Israel.”

He said Iron Sting will integrate well with the IDF’s multi-year plan, the general framework under which the Israel Defense Forces builds up its arsenals and trains its troops in order to confront the threats it expects to face in the coming years.

Colonel Arik Avivi, head of the IDF’s land forces weaponry department, said the weapon offers “an ability that until today was for the brigade or division, and we are bringing it now to the level of the battalion.”

He said it would offer “a very great lethality for that level” of force size.

According to the head of the Defense Ministry’s Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure, Yaniv Rotem, the mortar had been in development for ten years.

Describing it as “groundbreaking” on an international level, he said the mortar would offer infantry units the kind of accuracy that was previously only available from missiles and airborne weaponry.

“Iron Sting is intended to provide accurate fire in the open field and crowded urban areas while reducing collateral damage in injury to non-combatants,” the statement said.

According to the Elbit website, Iron Sting has a range of 1-12 kilometers (0.6-7.5 miles, depending on the launch mortar, and has an accuracy to within 10 meters.

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