The Survey's team of experts discuss the latest research and the application of the findings.
Episode 20: MANPADS: Surface-to-air threats and security
Documenting Small Arms and Light Weapons: A Basic Guide
Guided mortar systems provide increased firing accuracy and reduced ammunition consumption over their conventional counterparts. Mortars are normally smooth-bore, muzzle-loading, indirect- fire support weapons, and are typically used against personnel, light armoured vehicles, and structures. Although they can engage targets that may not be within their line of sight, they are limited in range and accuracy when compared to many other artillery systems.
A new Small Arms Survey Research Note provides an overview of this light weapon system, describing its technical specifications, its development, and its use in military contexts.
Guided mortar systems allow for precision targeting and increased first-round hit probability, greatly reducing the potential for collateral damage. While conventional mortar systems typically require two or more rounds to be fired in order to stabilize the firing platform and make corrections for weather effects, guided mortar systems minimize this requirement and so use less ammunition.
Their increased accuracy gives them greater utility as an anti-tank weapon, with more accurate engagement of moving targets. These advantages have made guided mortar systems more popular, and they are now in service with several militaries around the world.
Guided mortar projectiles differ from their unguided equivalents in that they include a guidance and navigation unit and a method of adjusting the munitions’ trajectory in flight. Many guided mortar projectiles are fitted with a self-destruct mechanism to minimize the risk of collateral damage from munitions that fail to function.
To date, there is no evidence of guided mortar systems being held by non-state armed groups; however, given their increasing prevalence on the battlefield, this could change.
- Download Research Note 51 Guided Mortar Systems
- More on light weapons
- See also Research Note 2 Mortars
- See also Armed Groups and Guided Light Weapons: 2014 Update with MENA Focus
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