France Has Successfully Conducted Qualification Tests for New MEPAC Mortar Carrier Vehicle

The French Army Artillery School unit in Draguignan, in collaboration with the DGA (French Government Defense Procurement and Technology Agency), has successfully conducted qualification tests for the MEPAC (Mortier Embarqué pour l'Appui au Contact). This state-of-the-art 120 mm self-propelled mortar carrier, based on the robust Griffon 6x6 armored vehicle, is set to enter service with the French army in 2025.
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The MEPAC is a new 120mm self-propelled mortar carrier that will enter into service with the French army in 2025.  (Picture source DGA)

The MEPAC 120mm self-propelled mortar carrier has been also selected by the Belgian army. On December 8, 2023, Belgium's Minister of Defense, Ludivine Dedonder, approved the purchase of a series of artillery systems to enhance the operational capabilities of the Belgian army including the acquisition of of 24 MEPAC mortar vehicles.

The MEPAC represents a major leap in artillery support for ground troops, offering enhanced firepower and mobility. The Griffon 6x6 platform, known for its advanced protection and mobility features, makes the MEPAC a formidable asset in varied combat scenarios. This combination of mobility and firepower is expected to provide significant tactical advantages in supporting infantry units during close contact engagements.

The successful qualification tests, as announced in a Tweet on December 27, 2023, mark a crucial milestone in the MEPAC's development. These tests validate the system's performance and reliability, clearing the path for its integration into the French army's arsenal. The MEPAC's induction is part of a broader modernization effort of the French military, aligning with its strategic goals of enhancing ground combat capabilities.

The French Army's commitment to modernizing its equipment and maintaining a technological edge is evident in this development. The MEPAC is poised to be a game-changer in the landscape of military artillery, significantly boosting the French army's operational effectiveness and readiness for future challenges.

With its planned entry into service in 2025, the MEPAC is set to reinforce France's military posture both domestically and in its international commitments, reflecting the nation's dedication to maintaining a formidable and technologically advanced military force.

France Has Successfully Conducted Qualification Tests for New MEPAC Mortar Carrier Vehicle 925 002
The MEPAC is based on the Griffon 6x6 armored vehicle integrating a 120mm mortar system. (Picture source D

At the core of the MEPAC's design is the Griffon 6x6 armored vehicle, a well-established armored vehicle that was recently entered into service with the French Army. This choice of base vehicle offers several advantages. The 6x6 configuration ensures high mobility across diverse terrains, crucial for operational flexibility in various battlefield environments. Moreover, as an armored vehicle, the Griffon provides essential protection to the crew, safeguarding them against small arms fire and shell splinters.

The artillery component of the MEPAC is its 120 mm mortar, a heavy caliber that provides substantial destructive capability and range. This is a significant upgrade over traditional mortars, particularly in terms of power and effectiveness. Unlike conventional towed mortars, the MEPAC's mortar is integrated into the vehicle, making it self-propelled. This integration is a game-changer, enhancing the system's mobility and allowing for rapid deployment and relocation. Such agility is vital in dynamic combat situations, enabling the MEPAC to respond swiftly to changing tactical needs.

In terms of its operational role, the MEPAC is primarily designed for indirect fire support, especially useful in close-contact scenarios. It provides infantry units with powerful and flexible artillery backing, an essential asset in modern warfare. The rapid response capability of the MEPAC, courtesy of its self-propelled system and the inherent mobility of the Griffon vehicle, allows for quick positioning and firing. This feature is paramount in ensuring that artillery support keeps pace with the evolving dynamics of the battlefield.

Furthermore, the MEPAC's versatility is notable. It can operate effectively in a variety of environments, including open fields and urban warfare scenarios. This adaptability ensures that ground troops are supported regardless of the combat terrain. The enhanced firepower provided by its 120 mm mortar also means that the MEPAC can deliver a significant punch, increasing the overall operational effectiveness of the units it supports.

Defense News December 2023