MO-120 RT-61 / RT-F1 gallery

The RT F1 mortar is assigned to the Artillery Regiments within the French Army, though initially they were deployed among Infantry Regiments. Currently, each Regiment has eight MO-120 RT-61 towed by VTM-120 vehicles. In 2017 France had 128 mortars in service.
The mortar is mounted on a two-wheeled trailer that in the French Army is usually towed by an armoured VAB 4×4 forming the VTM-120 system (Véhicule Tracteur Mortier de 120 mm). In addition, the vehicle carries 70 grenades for immediate use.
The French armed forces used it in Operation Daguet during the 1991 Gulf War and in peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. Recently they have used them in operations in Afghanistan and Mali. The crew of the VTM-120 system is usually composed by 4 mortar servants plus 2 crewmembers from the vehicle.
It is claimed that the destructive power of 120mm grenades is very similar to that of 155mm artillery shells. The maximum firing rate is 10 rounds per minute and the maximum range is around 8 km. The RT-61 fires standard NATO ammunition and special ammunition types PR-14 (HE) and rocket assisted PRPA (HERA) with which a maximum range of more than 12 km is achieved.
These MO-120 RT-61 were manufactured under license in Japan, which in 2017 had 428 in service. Other users are: Belgium (52), Djibouti (20), Colombia (108), Cyprus (12), Gabon (4), Italy (139), Jordan (300), Netherlands (16) and Tunisia (18).
Turkish company MKEK developed the “120mm HY-12 Tosam” model, of which Turkish Army has about 578 units in service. It is basically a copy of the original French model, as can be seen in this picture. In addition, a range of ammunition has been developed.
In 2001, U.S. Marines found themselves fighting in Afghanistan without an intermediate fire support weapon between the lightweight 60mm mortar and the voluminous 155mm howitzer. The Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS) program was initiated, which led in 2009 to the commissioning of the M-327 mortar, (on the image), a direct derivative from the Thomson Brandt MO-120 RT-61.
This M-327 mortar has a GPS guided ammunition designated as “precision extended range munition” (PERM), which has a range of almost 16 km and a circular error probability of less than 10 meters. This ammunition is up to 3 times more lethal than the conventional one and recently a projectile with semi-active laser guide has been put into service to attack moving targets.
Brazil also developed the mortar “Mrt P 120 M2 R”, which is another derivative from the French model. This model is a bit longer, (3.06 meters) and a little heavier, reaching 716 kg. It has a maximum firing rate of 18 rounds per minute and the Brazilian Army has about 140 units in service.

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