Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1

The MO-120 RT (factory designator) or MO-120-RT is a French heavy mortar. The RT in the designator stands for rayé, tracté, which means rifled, towed. The MO-120-RT 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 has also been exported to more than 24 foreign countries or in some cases, produced under licence. It is issued to artillery units, where it complements artillery guns and systems; although infantry units operate it in some countries.

Mortier 120mm Rayé Tracté Modèle F1
TypeHeavy mortar
Place of originFrance
Service history
In serviceFrench Army
Used bySee Operators
WarsGulf War[1]
Lebanese Civil War
War in Afghanistan
Operation Serval
Russo-Ukrainian War[2]
Production history
DesignerThales, Thomson-Brandt
ManufacturerThales, TDA Armements (France), Thomson-CSF/Daimler Benz Aerospace (Germany), Hotchkiss Brandt (Netherlands), Howa (Japan)
Mass582 kg (1,283 lb)
Barrel length2.8 m (9 ft 2 in)
Crew4 gunners, 2 vehicle crew

Shell18.7 kg (41 lb)
Calibre120 mm (4.7 in) NATO mortar round
Traverse±14° from centreline
Rate of fire18 rounds per minute (maximum)
6 rounds per minute (sustained)
Effective firing range8,140 m (8,900 yd) with standard projectile
12,850 m (14,050 yd) with rocket assisted projectile

A vehicle-mounted and automated mortar system derived from the MO-120 RT, known as the 2R2M is in service with a number of nations.

Design edit

The MO-120 RT uses 120mm rounds with a range of 8.2 km (5.1 mi) and the PRPA (RAP-Rocket Assisted Projectile) with a range of 13 km (8.1 mi). 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.

Fired mortar rounds can reach as high as 4,000 m (13,000 ft) and hit the ground with an effective kill radius of 76 m (249 ft).[3]

Service edit

MO-120-RT-61 and Véhicule Tracteur de Mortier 120 during Opération Daguet.

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 or the future French Scorpion SERVAL Vehicle.

In France, the mortars which originally equipped infantry regiments, have now all been transferred to the artillery regiments, where they augment the 155 mm towed artillery.[citation needed]

The manufacturer is Thales, with former company names TDA Armements, Thomson-Brandt, as mentioned above, Thomson-CSF/Daimler Benz Aerospace (France/Germany), and Hotchkiss Brandt (The Netherlands) as the "HB Rayé".

Variants edit

Turkish version edit

In Turkey, a variant was derived and manufactured by MKEK as the HY 12 mortar. It is towed by a Unimog light truck, carrying a crew of 6 with 60 mortar rounds. MKEK produces the "Mod 209 High-Explosive (HE) bomb" ammunition for this.[4]

Japanese Type 96 edit

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force operate the MO-120-RT both in the towed configuration as well as mounted in a vehicle, the Type 96.

2R2M edit

Italian Army 2R2M Mortar

The 2R2M is a vehicle-mounted and automated mortar system derived from the MO-120 RT.[5]

M327 Expeditionary Fire Support System edit

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 120 RT 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.[6] 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.[7]

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 m (33 ft) 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.[8][9][7][10]

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.[11] The role was later filled in 2021 by the Hero-120 loitering munition launched from various vehicles.[12]

Operators edit

Former operators edit

Variants edit

  • MO-120-LT – Smooth-bore version for the mountain artillery.

References edit

  1. ^ Rottman, Gordon L. (1993). Armies of the Gulf War. Elite 45. Osprey Publishing. p. 46. ISBN 9781855322776.
  2. ^ a b "A Show Of Shame - Belgian Weapons Deliveries To Ukraine". Retrieved 27 November 2022.
  3. ^ TBS Marines Witness EFSS Mortar's Impact Archived 27 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine -, 12 September 2014
  4. ^ "MKEK 120 mm HY 12 mortar (Turkey), Mortars". Jane's Infantry Weapons. 11 March 2009. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  5. ^ a b Gander, Terry J. (4 June 2001). "TDA 120 mm MO 120 RT rifled mortar". Jane's Infantry Weapons 2002-2003. pp. 1835–1836.
  6. ^ Marines Finally Fire Their Osprey Mortar Archived 1 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine,, 20 February 2011
  7. ^ a b Marines introduce deadly new mortar round Marine Corps Times, 16 December 2015
  8. ^ Guided mortar rounds have 20-kilometer range Archived 22 December 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Marine Corps Times, 2 February 2013
  9. ^ Marines to Receive Precision-Guided Mortar Round in 2018 Archived 12 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine,, 16 December 2015
  10. ^ Raytheon, IMI to Provide Guided Bombs for Marine Corps Mortars Archived 11 July 2018 at the Wayback Machine,, 10 December 2015
  11. ^ Marine Corps Ditches Towed Mortar System in Push to Fund Modernization Archived 18 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine,, 19 December 2017
  12. ^ UVision to provide Hero-120 Organic Precision Fires-Mounted Aerial Loitering Munition Systems to US Marine Corps. Army Recognition. 21 June 2021.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Trade Registers". Archived from the original on 14 April 2010. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  14. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies (February 2016). The Military Balance 2016. Vol. 116. Routlegde. p. 85. ISBN 978-1-85743-835-2.
  15. ^ a b The Military Balance 2016, p. 404.
  16. ^ The Military Balance 2016, p. 111.
  17. ^ The Military Balance 2016, p. 339.
  18. ^ "The Status of Western Military Aid to Kurdish Peshmerga Forces". Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  19. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies, The Military Balance, 2017
  20. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 July 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Armament Research & Development Establishment" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 May 2017. Retrieved 11 June 2017.
  22. ^ "Qatar Army, plans to buy 120mm mortar carriers". 7 July 2014.
  23. ^ The Military Balance 2016, p. 87.
  24. ^ Iraqi army equipment 1930–2017. Vol. 2. p. 115.
  25. ^ "EFSS/ITV: The US Marines Mobile 120mm Mortar System". Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011.
  26. ^ "Marine Corps Ditches Towed Mortar System in Push to Fund Modernization". 19 December 2017. Archived from the original on 18 October 2018. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  27. ^ Rottman, Gordon (2010). Panama 1989-90. Elite. Vol. 37. Osprey Publishing. pp. 14, 15, 57, 62, 63. ISBN 9781855321564.

External links edit