The US 120 mm Scorpion mobile mortar system is said to be serving the Ukrainian army in the campaign against the Russian army in the Kharkov region.
Ukrainian forces, including the elite Kraken special forces unit, successfully thwarted a substantial incursion by Russian troops. The Scorpion howitzers played a pivotal role in their successful defense.
The Scorpion is a 120mm self-propelled howitzer mounted on a modified Land Cruiser off-road chassis. It is essentially a localized version of the Spanish self-propelled 120mm howitzer Alacran produced by Global Military Products. The same system was chosen for Ukrainian mortar systems under the designation “Bars-8MMK.”
The Scorpion has a fully digital fire control system, enabling automatic aiming and quick realignment after each shot, ensuring a deviation of no more than 2 meters per kilometer. One of its key strengths is its high mobility. The entire system can be deployed in as little as 30 seconds, and the crew can vacate their position in less than 20 seconds after firing. The Scorpion mortar system has a firing range of up to 8 kilometers and can maintain a firing rate of up to 12 rounds per minute.
The Scorpion mobile mortar system is designed to offer a balance between mobility and firepower. Originally developed by a Spanish company, it is internationally distributed by Global Military Products. Importantly, it can be folded back up, and the vehicle can move away in just 21 seconds after the last shot. This “shoot and scoot” capability significantly reduces the risk of being located and targeted by enemy counter-battery strikes.
The Scorpion was sold to the Ukrainians in 2019 and has been mounted on BARS-8 vehicles. The BARS-8 is a multi-purpose armored vehicle, an evolution of the Bars-6, a multi-role armored utility vehicle. With a gross weight of 10,000 kg and a payload capacity of 2,000 kg, the BARS-8 is designed to transport armed personnel and equipment in hostile environmental conditions while offering increased protection against gunfire and mine blasts.
The vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 120 km/h and is powered by a 6.7-liter Cummins V8 diesel engine, producing an output power of 350 hp. It is also equipped with either an automatic or manual six-speed Allison transmission, which, combined with reinforced suspension and axles, allows it to operate effectively off-road. The BARS-8 can be configured for various roles, including as an armored personnel carrier, an armored ambulance, and of course, as a tactical mortar-firing vehicle.
It is designed to offer protection up to STANAG 4569 Level 2 against bullet fire and mine blasts. Roof-mounted smoke grenade launchers provide additional protection to the occupants. The vehicle can accommodate up to ten people, including three crew members, and is equipped with several armored doors and windows to ensure secure visibility and access.
In the current context of the conflict in Ukraine, where mobility and responsiveness are crucial, the Scorpion could well be a valuable addition to the Ukrainian arsenal. Artillery systems are heavily utilized in this conflict, and the addition of a mobile system is always welcome.