Non-European Mortar Market: Taking European Designs In A Different Direction

by Dean Lockwood, Military Vehicles & Ordnance Analyst, Forecast International.

Like its European counterpart, the international market for mortars remains generally static. As the large number of World War II-era weapons still in active service clearly demonstrates, the simple, robust mortar often outlasts several generations of owners and users. The wide availability of serviceable old mortars continues to hinder significant investment in new production.

The tried-and-true European mortar designs continue to dominate the international market. License-produced mortars and outright copies of classic European designs compose the majority of mortars available on the international market.

Unlike Europe, however, the non-U.S. and non-European players have not embraced the development of mobile breech-loading 120mm mortar systems. For the international players, the 120mm mortar is evolving into a short-range towed artillery piece rather than a frontline element of mobile warfare.

While the established European players will remain the leaders in the international market for mortars, a select few non-U.S. and non-European mortar producers are poised to have an impact. Of these, Soltam Systems Ltd continues to emerge as the most significant non-U.S. and non-European player in the international market for mortars.

In October 2010, Elbit Systems Ltd acquired Soltam Systems. The contractor now operates as a component of Elbit, with its mortars maintaining the Soltam brand name.

During the next decade, we expect a baseline of limited sustainment production for domestic procurement and limited export, averaging 9,500 weapons per year through 2025.

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