Russian special operations forces are adding a silent-but-deadly new weapon to their arsenal. According to a report from Jane's 360, the Russian Ministry of Defense plans on acquiring new "silenced" mortar systems to help its commandos remain undetected downrange.
The Jane's report, published during Russia's Army 2018 defense expo at the end of August, indicates that Russia's spetsnaz special operations forces will get their hands on "several dozen" 2B25 “silent” 82mm mortar system designed by the Burevestnik Institute in the coming months.
According to Jane's source, the 2B25’s noise level "does not exceed that of a Kalashnikov AKMB assault rifle fitted with the PBS-1 silencer," while the system itself "produces almost no muzzle flash or smoke.” Here are some of the technical details, per The War Zone:
From the outside, the 30-pound mortar doesn't look out of the ordinary and it functions in the same way as many other modern types. An individual inserts the mortar bomb into the tube and then pulls a handle-shaped trigger to fire it. The shooter aims the weapon by using an optical sight and adjusting the angle of the barrel.
Where the 2B25 is special is in its 3VO35 82mm ammunition. A traditional mortar bomb has a propelling charge in its tail and troops can generally attach supplemental charges to increase its range. The detonation of these explosives forces the projectile out of the barrel and sends it down range.
While the details remain scant beyond The War Zone's excellent analysis (seriously, read it), a mortar system with the sound level of a suppressed AK-47 would prove a major boon to special operations forces by reducing the visual and auditory indicators that might give away their firing position.
At the same time, it's no big whoops in terms of technological advances. A report from the Defense Technical Information Center from way back in 1991 revealed that the U.S. Army had some unconventional suppressor systems of its own — namely for 105mm and 120mm howitzers used at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
Look at this fucking thingU.S. Army photo via The Firearm Blog
But in the Army's case, the "howitzer silencer" wasn't developed for strategic reasons. As We Are The Mighty observed, the system was intended to reduce the disruptive boom of artillery fire so taxpayers in neighboring communities could go about their lives in peace.
With silenced mortar systems on the horizon, perhaps the Pentagon should consider dusting these bad boys off — just in case.