This 120MM Gun Built into a Shipping Container Is Pretty Damn Genius

Finnish defense contractor Patria has adapted its NEMO 120mm smooth-bore, gyro stabilized motor gun system to fit into an easily transportable shipping container. I did a writeup all about the innovative NEMO, a lightweight version of Patria’s Advanced Mortar System, a couple years ago. In the past, the system has been showcased as integrated directly into land combat vehicles and on littoral combat boats. But now NEMO comes in a self contained “plug-and-play” container. Patria says it is the biggest containerized gun system on the planet. Dare you disagree?

Everything is all fitted inside the container, from the gun turret, its ammo handling system, magazine and power supply to its operations station. The same “box” can be mounted on a vessel’s deck, on a pier, on a flatbed truck or sat directly on the ground. From those positions, NEMO can be put to work in fire modes that are direct (like a tank) and indirect (like an artillery piece). In the latter, it can have five rounds impact a target area all at once via Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact (MRSI) firing solutions calculated by the gun’s computer system. The NEMO can fire a three round burst in 12 seconds, and has maximum firing rate of ten rounds per minute and a sustained firing rate of seven rounds per minute—a lot of firepower in a small package.   

The container the system is built around is very similar to a standard 20 foot container, although it is 23.5 inches lower. A cover goes on the top of it to conceal the turret during transport. With the cover on the container has the same dimensions as a standard shipping container. A tubular structure has been fitted under the container’s skin to give the it better rigidity in order to absorb the recoil and vibration from the NEMO gun system. Different levels of armor protection can also be added to the container depending on the threat environment and the weight restrictions of its host vehicle, if it has one at all.



, A cutaway of the containerized NEMO system. ,  

Inside it holds 100 rounds of various 120mm rounds, and is operated by three people—two loaders and one gunner who is also the commander. A self-contained air conditioning system provides environmental control and protection against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) attacks.

This modular design allows for NEMO to be deployed on multi-role vessels, even highly maneuverable littoral combat boats., Patria

The coolest thing about this is you can just stick it wherever you need it, whether that be on an oil platform or on a maneuvering ground vehicle or patrol boat. This also means that a military can save a lot of money by not having to purchase larger amounts of NEMO systems that would otherwise be fully integrated into their host vehicles. As such, it also means these vehicles can be freed up for other tasks when not being deployed with NEMO onboard. The concept just offers far more flexibility and affordability for a large variety of mission sets that NEMO could be applied to as opposed procuring discreet, fully integrated individual weapon systems.

The modular NEMO container system mounted on a flatbed combat truck. NEMO’s barrel is stabalized allowing for shooting on the move. , Patria

The trend toward containerized weapon systems is a somewhat controversial one, but it has continued to grow in recent years. Anti-ship and cruise missiles may be the most eyebrow raising examples container-mounted weaponry, a concept that Russia has pioneered in recent years. Just recently theNorwegian-built multi-role Naval Strike Missile has also been put forwardin a containerized variant as well.Other shipping container-based weapons concepts have included rocket systems and armed remote sentry systems. But what makes the containerized NEMO so intriguing is that it is not just a disguise for a stand-off missile launcher, but a persistent weapons system that can be used for low intensity conflicts and security keeping as well as higher-intensity warfare.

This modular NEMO system was originally built for the UAE, and input from their military was integral in its final configuration. But Patria clearly sees a larger market for the system, and in an erawhere sea basing anddistributed lethality are all the rage, and where modular and multi-role anything and everything is what seems to get funding, this system could be a huge hit.

The modular NEMO system in its minimalist form., Patria

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Tyler Rogoway


Tyler’s passion is the study of military technology, strategy, and foreign policy and he has fostered a dominant voice on those topics in the defense media space. He was the creator of the hugely popular defense site Foxtrot Alpha before developing The War Zone.