The smoothbore, muzzle-loading M252 medium weight mortar system offers up accurate long-range indirect fire support to American ground forces. It is an 81mm high-angle-of-fire system that is crew-served, entering US Army service in 1987. The American M252 is based on the standard British L16 81mm mortar.
The M252 consists of several key components making up the whole. These include the M253 Cannon (firing tube), the M177 Mortar Mount, the M3A1 Baseplate and the M64A1 Sight Unit. The M253 Cannon is 50 inches long and accepts a variety of munitions type for fire including high-explosive (HE), red phosphorous and smoke, illumination and other NATO-accepted rounds. The barrel is capped with the Blast Attenuation Device (BAD) for crew protection. Elevation is accomplished through the use of a screw-type elevation and traverse system. A crew of three is recommended for maximum firing efficiency.
The M252 has capable ranges of 83 meters minimum and 5,935 meters maximum. The entire unit weighs 91lbs. A maximum rate-of-fire of 30 rounds-per-minute is attainable for up to 2 minutes. Sustained firing falls between eight and sixteen rounds-per-minute. The M252 replaced the aged M29 81mm mortar and is in service with the United States Army and United States Marine Corps.
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