The U.S. Army Picatinny Arsenal’s Program Executive Office for Ammunition has announced the fielding of the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI) 120mm precision mortar round to Stryker Brigade Combat Teams in Afghanistan.
APMI will be fired from the Army’s new Stryker Double-V Hull Mortar Carrier Vehicle, or MCVV. The Stryker MCVV is used to provide high-angle mortar fire to support operations in complex terrain and urban environments. It now can fire APMI precision-guided mortars as well as conventional 120mm rounds.
While Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative, or APMI, will not replace standard 120 mm mortar rounds, its accuracy will allow a commander the ability to defeat a target with precision if there is danger of collateral damage.
The APMI cartridge uses a standard M934 high-explosive 120mm projectile body. In the nose, a GPS receiver and computer controlled aerodynamic directional fins keep the round on its programmed trajectory, while folding fins in the tail provide stability.
Mortar accuracy is described in terms of Circular Error Probable (CEP). Round design, high angle ballistics and atmospheric effects on mortar rounds translate to a CEP of traditional 120 mortars at maximum range of a reported 136 meters, meaning that half of the rounds fired will fall into a 136 meter radius circle drawn around the desired target. Service representatives note that mortars with advanced features, like precision position and pointing systems, can achieve a 76 meter CEP. By contrast, the APMI cartridge has a requirement of 10 meter CEP, with program representatives noting that APMI rounds fielded in Afghanistan are exceeding that stated accuracy requirement.
The APMI round was first fielded to dismounted troops in Afghanistan last April. The dismounted 120 mm mortar systems in Afghanistan are often kept at mortar positions in Forward Operation Bases and Combat Outposts throughout the country. Now that APMI has been integrated with a mobile platform, the battlespace where the APMI round can be used has increased.
According to the Army announcement, PEO Ammunition’s Product Manager for Guided Precision Munitions and Mortar Systems conducted the initial Stryker MCVV combined training and live-fire exercise in June of this year, with the first training round fired achieving a direct hit on the intended target.
Warfighters in the Stryker units being trained noted that the APMI will be “perfect” for targets seen in that unit’s area of operations, like IED emplacers, traditional Taliban fighting positions, and hostile forces close to friendly troops