Mexican soldier with a G3 with folding stock. In the background one of the Norinco 105mm mountain guns. These were first photographed by this author in 1995, but the Army admitted at having them in 2000 (J. Montes)
By Julio A. Montes
While strolling in Mexico during the latest Independence Day celebrations, I came across two very interesting and unique military hardware items.
The first item was observed in the hands of some members of the Special Forces Airmobile Groups. This was the very unusual Corner Shot, designed as a technological system that enables the user to observe and engage a target from behind a corner without exposing the shooter. The design has been successful and Special Forces and elite police units around the world use it. The weapon was first unveiled in December 2003 by Corner Shot LLC, and it was the brainchild of Amos Golan and Asaf Nadel, both senior former Israeli combat and special units officers.
The weapon adapts a standard pistol into a special rifle mount. The flexible furniture carries a small resolution camera and monitor that allows to the area to be scanned and to broadcast directly, in real time, to the team behind or to a command post in the rear.
With the weapon, the shooter can engage targets in several directions up to 100m with standard pistol calibers, and up to 200m with 5.7+mm calibers. Although the pistols used by the Mexican Army appear to be the Glock, the system has been designed to take SIG Sauers, CZ and Berettas and many others as well.
The company in fact has gone beyond the pistol calibers and developed the Personal Grenade Launcher (PGL) Corner Shot 40. This basically modifies a single shot grenade launcher. Furthermore, with the partnership of the German Dynamit Nobel Defense, the company now offers the CSP – or Corner Shot Panzerfaust. This design matches the standard furniture to a powerful RGW-60 antitank recoilless grenade launcher. The RGW can fire several types of explosive warheads to include -HET, HEAT-Mp and HESH. It is unknown if the Mexican forces have acquired any other than the pistol adaptation model.
The second interesting item observed has nothing to do with small arms, but provided for the first close up of the Norinco 105mm M90 mountain howitzer. The guns had been actually photographed from afar in 1995. Their shape made me to speculate that these were either Italian M56 Oto types with the muzzle break removed, or Yugoslavian M48 mountain guns. The National Defense Secretariat (SEDENA) finally acknowledged to have purchased some 13 Norinco mountain guns in 2000.
The Norinco M90 is very similar to the M56 Oto, but lacks the distinctive muzzle break. The weapon can be broken down in several lighter, smaller, man or mule-portable components. It has been designed as a powerful artillery piece to equip mountain troops and is normally towed by a Hummer pickup or similar light utility vehicle. It is unusual because it departs from the typical Russian calibers, and uses NATO standard 105mm ammunition. Its maximum range is rated to a little less than 11,000 meters (6.84 miles)
The Mexican Army counts with the 1st Artillery Regiment XII Military Zone at Guanajuato, with 12 Norincos distributed in three batteries, each with four 105mm howitzers. The 8th Artillery Regiment/I Military Region from Mexico State is said to be similarly organized and equipped.
Until recently Mexico was hardly the place to find exotic weapons, but all that has changed within the last few years.
|This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V12N2 (November 2008)|