As with other military powers of the world during the Cold War period (1947-1991), the French Army moved to adopt a new light infantry-level field mortar in 81mm caliber, this becoming the "TDA 81mm". The series was taken into service in 1961 and has been progressively modernized throughout the subsequent decades (the LLR 81mm is its most modern form). The light infantry mortar fulfills the role of in-direct ranged fire support for infantry actions on the ground, capable of engaging foes without actually seeing them. The complete system encompasses the launch tube, optics set, baseplate and supporting bipod. Rate-of-fire reaches up to 20 rounds-per-minute and range is out to 3,400 yards from the point of launch. The typical operating crew numbers four personnel.
The TDA 81mm is cleared to fire High-Explosive, illumination, smoke and White Phosphorous (practice) projectiles. Total system weight is 43 kilograms with the launch tube being 14.4kg, the base plate weighing 14.9kg and the bipod weighing 12.2kg.
The French and South African armies both utilize the TDA 81mm series family of light mortars. In the latter it is designated as the M-3.