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M120 mortar fired during Operation Iraqi Freedom

The M120 mortar is a 120 mm mortar that was developed by Soltam Systems of Israel. It is the latest development of the M-65 mortar and has replaced the 107-millimetre (4.2 in) M30 in United States Army infantry and armor units. It is much lighter than the M30, has a greater range, and can sustain a rate of fire of four rounds per minute while the M30 could sustain only three.

Contents

Design overview

The M120 fires fin-stabilized ammunition from a smoothbore. Unlike its smaller ammunition cousins, the 81 mm and 60 mm mortars, the fin blades of the ammunition fired from the M120 are not canted. Thus, no spin is imparted to the projectile in flight. Although heavy mortars require trucks or tracked mortar carriers to move them, they are still much lighter than field artillery pieces. They outrange light and medium mortars, and their explosive power is much greater.

The M120 is transported on the M1100 Trailer by the M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV).

Deployment

The M120 entered service with the United States Army in 1991. Its mission is to provide heavy weapon, high-angle organic indirect fire support to the unit commander. The M120 is used by both mechanized units and light infantry in certain situations.

Another feature of the M120 is the M303 Sub-Caliber insert. This allows for the capability of firing 81 mm ammunition.

The M120 is also in use by the Egyptian Army, Moroccan Royal Guards, and Republic of China Military Police.

Specifications

Maximum Range: 7,240 metres (23,800 ft)
Minimum Range: 200 metres (660 ft)
Weight: 144.7 kilograms (319 lb) without ammunition
326.1 kilograms (719 lb) when mounted on trailer
Rate of Fire: 16 rounds/min first minute, 4 rounds/min sustained
Crew: 5

The M120 Mortar System consists of the following major components:

  • M298 Cannon Assembly (110 pounds/50 kilograms)
  • M190 Bipod Assembly (70 pounds/32 kilograms)
  • M9 Baseplate (136 pounds/62 kilograms)
  • M1100 Trailer (399 pounds/181 kilograms)
  • M67 Sight Unit (2.5 pounds/1.1 kilograms)

The M120 is capable of firing the following munitions:

  • M934 High Explosive Round
  • M934A1 High Explosive Round
  • M933 High Explosive Round
  • M929 Smoke Cartridge[1]
  • XM930 Illumination Round
  • XM930E1 Illumination Round
  • XM983 Illumination Round
  • XM931 Practice Round

Users

Vehicle mounted version

The vehicle mounted version is called the M121 120 mm mortar.

See also

References

  1. ^ 120mm Mortar Smoke Cartridge http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/m929.htm

External links

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