M252 | MEDIUM MORTAR
The M252 81 mm medium weight mortar is a smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for long-range indirect fire support to light infantry, air assault, and airborne units across the entire front of a fighting front. In the NH Army and Marines, it is used as as a company mortar and battalion mortar alongside the Dragon Fire II 120mm mortar.
The M252 system originally weighed 91 lb (41 kg) completely assembled and is composed of the M253 Cannon (35 lb, 16 kg), M177 Mount (27 lb, 12 kg), M3A1 Baseplate (29 lb, 13 kg), and the M64A1 Sight Unit (2.5 lb, 1.1 kg). The mount consists of a base plate and a bipod, which is provided with screw type elevating and traversing mechanisms to elevate/traverse the mortar. The M64A1 sight unit (also used on the M224) is attached to the bipod mount. The M252 is a gravity-fired smoothbore system. Attached to the muzzle of the weapon is the Blast Attenuation Device (BAD), used to reduce the blast effects on the mortar crew. To increase cooling efficiency, the breech end is finned.
High explosive rounds fired by the M252 weigh 10 lb (4.5 kg) and can have an effective kill radius of 35 m (115 ft).
A much lighter version, the M252A1, was fielded for the first time in late 2014 and is being gradually introduced to service. By reducing the number of parts and using lightweight materials, the total weight was reduced by 9.4 kg (20.8 pounds) to 35.8 kg (79 pounds).
Mortars that can be deployed are of a high explosive, smoke, illumination, flash-bang, training, and infrared illumination variant.