A forward view of the SPEAR autonomous mortar, the new recoil system reduces the firing loads to 10 tons. Photo: Tamir Eshel, Defense Update
SPEAR - an autonomous mortar from Elbit Systems Soltam.

Elbit Systems unveiled today the Soltam SPEAR 120mm autonomous, soft recoil mortar system, designed for light wheeled platforms. The company has already tested the system on a modified HMMWV displayed at the  3rd. Fires and Artillery Conference in Zikhron Yaakov, Israel. The new design introduces a second-generation development of the combat proven CARDOM system developed by Soltam, which has been widely deployed with the US Army on Stryker wheeled APCs and Israel Defense Forces Keshet M-113 based self-propelled mortars.

A forward view of the SPEAR autonomous mortar, the new recoil system reduces the firing loads to 10 tons. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense Update


The patent pending recoil system employed with this system reduces the barrel firing load (typically 120 tons) to less than 10 tons, therefore enabling a relatively light chassis to sustain the firing jolt within few seconds. As a result, the SPEAR can sustain a high rate of fire of up to 15 rounds per minute, and deliver accurate fire with a 30 meter circular error point (CEP). The mortar used is a derivative of the smooth-bore, muzzle loaded and turntable-mounted type used by the US Army, NATO and IDF.

The SPEAR has already been tested on a HMMWV platform, it can also deploy on other tactical vehicles, special purpose platforms or pickup trucks enabling deployment of such fire support assets on helicopters and light air transport aircraft. The system can rapidly deploy into action or pack and prepare for movement in just 60 seconds.

As the Keshet autonomous mortar operational with the IDF grond forces, SPEAR is equipped with full digital computerized aiming and navigation system, enabling the mortar to be operated autonomously and aimed without the need for external reference points.

Side view of the SPEAR autonomous mortar system from Elbit Systems. Photo: Noam Eshel, Defense Update


  1. While this Elbit/SOLTAM 120 mm SPEAR mortar is really a brilliant construction – it is a pity, that Elbit presents it ONLY on the obsolete US made HMMWV platform, and not ALSO on the real very heavy terrain going platform, like the Israeli made ZIBAR Mk 2, or on the IAI Ramta’s RAM Mk III heavy terrain & armored platform.

    • Well maybe because there’s a lot MORE humvees out there than the vehicles you mentioned, & the maybe because of the tight budgets they might consider to just retrofits them to their current inventories of vehicles.

      Anyways the CARDOM is very versatile, & has been installed in many types of vehicles.

  2. Marek

    The system can be mounted on a variety of vehicles not just the HUMMWV that is just for demonstration purposes and the customer decides what platform they want it based on.
    For the purpose of a prototype for marketing purposes isn’t the most logical thing to use whats probably an old surplus HUMMWV probably donated by the IDF who have no use for it anymore.

    • Yes, Brett (and Robert). BUT — what I mean here is, that since Elbit/SOLTAM SPEAR system is an excellent, tomorrow’s system, it is a PITY, that it is mounted ONLY on the yesterday’s platform (even for the demo-purposes), and not ALSO on the future, tomorrow’s, and first of all, capable platform – like for instance the two I have mentioned above.

  3. Technology is amazing. All the folks behind developments like this are very talented to say the least. And we can use terms like “combat proven”, but under who’s doctrine? As a 21 year Mortar guy w/ 4 deployments, former Mortar Master Trainer and 1SG of the company that owns both IMLC and 11C AIT, as well as the proponent for the FM’s, I can tell anyone this system won’t work when examing the infinite scenarios subject to combat and employment of organic Indirect Fire assets. It won’t work because our doctrine doesn’t support it. All tactical employment aspects must be considered. We’re in a bad habit of not examing that. We leverage the technology, and too often we forget about the ground truth realities associated with employing systems like these. I got it…it works for the Israeli’s. But their comprehensive doctrine is considerably different. I could be off target a little bit, but I don’t think so. Please contact me and I’ll elaborate.

  4. True. It certainly does work well on the Strykers. The Stryker also has a crew of five, is self defended with an M240B Machine Gun, and can carry up to 60 rounds of 120, or, at the battalion level, 48 x 120 and 35 x 81mm, and at the company level, 48 x 120 and 77 x 60mm. Not to mention it can traverse 6 1/2 foot trenches and carries SLAT armor. The 81mm and 60mm mortars transported by the Stryker really help out where the vehicle is worthless in non-permissive terrain.