Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1
|Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1|
|Place of origin||France|
|In service||French Army|
United States Marine Corps
|Used by||France, among others (see below)|
Lebanese Civil War
War in Afghanistan
|Manufacturer||TDA Armements (France), Thomson-CSF/Daimler Benz Aerospace (Germany), Hotchkiss Brandt (Netherlands), MKEK (Turkey), Howa (Japan)|
|Mass||582 kg (1,283 lb)|
|Barrel length||280 cm (9 ft 2 in)|
|Crew||4 gunners, 2 vehicle crew|
|Shell||18.7 kg (41 lb)|
|Calibre||120 mm (4.7 in) NATO mortar round|
|Traverse||±14° from centreline|
|Rate of fire||6 to 10 rpm|
|Effective firing range||8,140 m (8,900 yd) with standard projectile|
12,850 m (14,050 yd) with rocket projectile
The MO-120 RT-61 (factory designator) or MO-120-RT is a heavy mortar of French origin. The RT in the designator stands for rayé, tracté, which means rifled, towed. The RT-61 is currently used by the French Army (where it is known as RT F1 or Mortier de 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1—"120 mm rifled towed mortar, model F1"), and is produced under licence in various countries. The MO-120 RT-61 is issued to artillery units, where it augments the 155 mm towed artillery.
The RT-61 uses standard NATO rounds as well as the specially designed PR-14 (HE) and the PRPA (HERA). The weapon can be fired either by dropping the round down the tube (after aligning of the rifling bands) resulting in an automatic firing once the bomb hits the tube base, or by a controlled firing by dropping the bomb down the tube and pulling on a lanyard that will in turn set off the triggering mechanism in the base of the tube.
Rounds fired from the mortar can reach as high as 8,000 ft (2,400 m) and hit the ground with an effective kill radius of nearly 250 ft (76 m).
In French service, this weapon is normally towed by the VTM 120 (Véhicule Tracteur Mortier de 120 mm), a wheeled armored vehicle that is a derivative of the VAB 4×4 series of armored personnel carrier. Towing is accomplished by a towing hitch that is screwed onto the muzzle of the weapon. The VTM 120 also carries 70 rounds for the mortar and offers basic ballistic protection from small arms fire and shrapnel for the crew. The RT-61 can also be towed by the AMX-10 TM (Tracteur de Mortier), which is a version of the AMX-10P tracked APC.
The mortars, which originally equipped infantry regiments, have now all been transferred to the artillery regiments, where they augment the 155 mm towed artillery.
Manufacturers other than Thomson-Brandt as mentioned above include Thomson-CSF/Daimler Benz Aerospace (France/Germany(?)), Hotchkiss Brandt (Netherlands) as the "HB Rayé" and under license by MKEK in Turkey.
Japanese Type 96
Towed configuration in Japanese service. Prime mover is Toyota Mega Cruiser.
The 2R2M is a derivative of the MO-120-RT-61 designed to be carried on light armoured vehicles, with a semi-automatic loading. The system has also been modified by the USMC as the Dragon Fire.
Expeditionary Fire Support System
The United States Marine Corps began looking for an Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS) in 2001 after the start of operations in Afghanistan exposed their lack of expeditionary artillery lighter than a 155 mm howitzer but heavier than a 60 mm mortar. Early on, the weapon became tied to the development of the MV-22 Osprey, which would contain a Growler ITV jeep that would tow it; both efforts were troubled and experienced delays. The EFSS was first used operationally in Afghanistan in February 2011, firing an M1105 illumination projectile. The full EFSS was introduced in 2009, consisting of two light vehicles, one towing the mortar and the other an ammunition trailer, that fit inside an MV-22 or CH-53E Super Stallion; an EFSS battery is made up of roughly 50 Marines.
From 2011 to 2015, the Marines and Raytheon developed the precision extended range munition (PERM) for the EFSS, a GPS-guided round that delivers greater range and better accuracy. The 35 lb (16 kg) round increased range from 8 km (5.0 mi) to 16 km (9.9 mi), falling within 10 meters of the target and as close as two meters, costing $18,000 each, and having 2.5–3 times more lethality. The extra range came from tail fins for stabilization and canards near the nose to make in-flight adjustments and make it glide as it descends, and the greater lethality was a result of this flight path; normal artillery rounds impact at a 45 degree angle, which blows the top half of the round straight up into the air, but descending at a sharp angle places more energy and fragmentation directly on a target. It was even capable of hitting reverse slope positions by shaping its trajectory. Greater accuracy also reduces logistical burdens, as using fewer rounds to destroy one target means a unit can last longer without needing resupply. The PERM was to begin fielding in 2018. Raytheon planned to add semi-active laser (SAL) guidance to PERM rounds to enable them to hit moving targets.
By December 2017, the U.S. Marines had divested the EFSS. With the Marines working to extend the range of their artillery arsenal, the EFSS' limited range was not seen as well suited for future missions, so it was chosen for divestment in favor of moving more resources for precision fires.
- Belgium: 52 delivered in 1965–1966.
- Cameroon: 16 delivered in 1973.
- Colombia: 38 Turkish HY1-12 delivered in 2009.
- Cyprus: 114 delivered in 1990–1991, 112 in service in 2016.
- Djibouti: 20 delivered in 1981.
- Gabon: 4 delivered in 1986.
- France: 128 in 2016.
- Italy: 139 delivered between 2000 and 2004. The Military Balance gives 142 in service as of 2016[update].
- Japan: 462 delivered between 1990 and 2017.
- Kuwait: ~12 in service.
- Mexico: 32 delivered in 1988, still in service.
- Netherlands: 145 delivered in 1966–1968
- Saudi Arabia: 200 delivered in 1990–1991 and 25 2R2M in 2009–2010, both used by the National Guard.
- Turkey: 127 deployed in Northern Cyprus as of 2016[update].
- Rwanda: 25 delivered in 1990–1991
- United States: 66 delivered between 2008 and 2013—in service with the US Marine Corps as the M327 120 mm Expeditionary Fire Support System Phased out in 2017.
- MO-120-LT – Smooth-bore version for the mountain artillery.
- Cardom 120 mm recoil mortar system
- Soltam K6 120 mm mortar
- Soltam M-65 120 mm mortar
- 120 KRH 92 120 mm mortar
- 120mm M2 RAIADO 120 mm mortar
- 2S12 Sani 120 mm mortar
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