Marines test new mortar system

21 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Salvador R. Moreno

Marines with 1st Marine Division Schools and Infantry Training Battalion tested a new 60mm mortar system July 21.

Marines fired the new M224 60mm Light Weight Mortar system at the School of Infantry aboard Camp Pendleton.

The training provided hands-on experience with the new system which replaces the World War II era M2 Mortar and M119 Mortar.

The training exercise began at the SOI armory with a two-mile hike to the mortar range.

Marines were impressed with the weight difference.

“The new system is made out of what’s called an inconel alloy metal on the cannon which is lighter weight and has better properties at high heat,” said Capt. Jacob Womble, project officer, Marine Corps Systems Command.

He added the old system weighed around 40-45 pounds, but with the new alloy metal they were able to reduce the weight by about nine pounds.

Marines can move faster from one location to another with less fatigue with a lighter system, said Staff Sgt. Joseph Perushich, platoon commander and combat instructor for Delta Company, ITB.

Marines deployed to Afghanistan with the lighter system will be able to carry more ammunition, said Perushich.  

Perushich said in his opinion the new bipods and mount make the mortar more stable, allowing a more accurate weapon system.

 “This is the smallest the Marine Corps operates,” Womble added. “That makes it the most man-packable. You can carry it over terrain and the rounds are a lot lighter.”

Womble said the new Mortar system is part of the commandant’s vision of lightening the load for the Marine Corps.