L16 81mm mortar

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L16 81mm mortar
81mmMORT L16.png
81mm mortar L16
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Service history
Used bySee Users
Production history
DesignerRoyal Armament Research and Development Establishment, Fort Halstead (barrel and bipod)
ManufacturerRoyal Ordnance (barrel and bipod)
Masscombat 35.3 kg (78 lb)
Barrel length1,280 millimetres (50 in)

Caliber81 millimetres (3.2 in)
Actionmuzzle loading
Recoilbaseplate and spring buffered mounting clamp
Rate of fire15 rpm, 1–12 rpm sustained, 20 rpm for short periods
Muzzle velocity225 m/s (740 ft/s)
Effective firing rangeHE: 100–5,675 m
(109–6,206 yd)
Smoke: 100–5,675 m (109–6,206 yd)
Flare: 400–4,800 m
(437–5,249 yd)
Maximum firing range5,650 m (6,180 yd)
Feed systemManual
SightsOptical (C2) with Trilux illumination

The United Kingdom's L16 81mm mortar is the standard mortar used by the British armed forces. It originated as a joint design by the UK and Canada. The version produced and used by Australia is named the F2 81mm Mortar, whilst the version used by the U.S. armed forces is known as the M252.

It was introduced in 1965–66, replacing the Ordnance ML 3 inch Mortar in UK service, where it is used by the British Army, the Royal Marines and the RAF Regiment.

In UK armoured/mechanised infantry battalions, the L16 mortar is mounted in an FV 432 AFV (six[1] per battalion mortar platoon). British army light role infantry battalions and the Royal Marines may transport their mortars in BvS 10 vehicles (the replacement for the Bv 206). Otherwise, it is carried disassembled in three loads, (barrel, baseplate and bipod with sights, each approximately 11 kg), normally carried by a vehicle or helicopter and assembled for firing from the ground.

The weapon can be man-packed by the mortar detachment, in which case the ammunition would be carried by other soldiers of the battalion. In addition to their normal equipment, each soldier would carry four bombs in a pair of two-bomb plastic containers (known as greenies in the British Army).

The mortar has been used by many countries' armed forces.


Map with L16 operators in blue.

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]



  1. ^ Rinaldi, Richard A. (August 2002). "Modern British TOE's" (PDF). Orbat.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  2. ^ "Mortar – 81 mm" (PDF). defence.gov.au. Defence unexploded ordnance website: ordnance information sheet. March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Berrigan, Frida; Ciarrocca, Michelle (November 2000). "Report: Profiling the Small Arms Industry - World Policy Institute - Research Project". World Policy Institute. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Mortieren (60-, 81- en 120mm)". Defensie.nl. Ministerie van Defensie. Archived from the original on 16 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  5. ^ Rottman, Gordon L. (1993). Armies of the Gulf War. Elite 45. Osprey Publishing. p. 30. ISBN 9781855322776.

External links[edit]