As the team prepared to fire its hidden 120mm mortar, one soldier used a rope to lift an improvised canopy, which was then immediately lowered after the shell was launched.
This helped limit the smoke that could be seen rising from the weapon, helping conceal it from Russian drones flying overhead.
The exact location and the units involved were not made clear, and the video’s authenticity couldn’t be confirmed.
However, the mortar crew was believed to be in the Donbas region, which continues to see heavy fighting. Russian and Ukrainian forces there are engaged in an artillery duel that shows no signs of ending.
Iranian Mortars in Ukraine?
Also unidentified was the type of weapon employed, but it is likely to be an HM 16 Hadid, a mortar originally made by Iran’s Ammunition and Metallurgy Industries Group (AMIG). The smoothbore and barrel-loading mortar offers a 360-degree field of firing. Though the platform weighs 138.5 kg (305 pounds), it can be disassembled to allow for transport by infantry. It can fire 10 rounds per minute and has a maximum range of 7,200 meters (4.4 miles).
The Hadid is an unlicensed copy of the Israeli Soltam K6 120mm mortar. A number of these Israeli mortars were reportedly captured in Lebanon by Iran-backed groups, allowing Tehran to reverse-engineer the design.
Ukraine never actually purchased any of the HM 16 Hadids, or any other AMIG-produced mortars, from the Islamic Republic. Rather, these mortars were among the weapons reportedly seized by the United States from Houthi rebels in Yemen and subsequently donated to Ukraine.
It does remain unclear when exactly the mortars were obtained by the U.S. military, but in February suspected Iranian weapons bound for the Houthis in the Persian Gulf — including more than 5,000 assault rifles and 1.6 million rounds of small arms ammunition — were also considered for donation to Kyiv. That matter is still pending.
Ukrainian Striking Back in the Donbas
This would not be the first time that Ukrainian troops have reportedly used Iranian weapons. In March, servicemen of the Ukrainian 24th Mechanized Brigade published a photo of their use of an Iranian H16 120mm mortar.
The 24th Mechanized Brigade is one of the oldest units in continuous service with the Ukrainian Ground Forces. Its origins date back to the Russian Civil War, and it has been fighting in the Donbas since 2014.
The brigade took part in the Kherson counteroffensive, participated in battles in the Luhansk Oblast, and then spent two months in Bakhmut with barely any break.
Camouflaged 120mm mortar position in Ukrainian service. pic.twitter.com/tG1YBzdkKr
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) May 10, 2023
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.