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Marines test new mortar sight concept at Range 15

By Lance Cpl. Cuong Le | | November 12, 2013

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The Marine Forces Pacific Experimentation Center with the help of two expert Marine mortarmen demonstrated the use of a new concept sight for the M224 60mm Lightweight Company Mortar System at Range 15 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, on Nov. 5, 2013.

The new concept sight was created by the TechSolutions branch of the Office of Naval Research, in Arlington, to provide Marines with a faster and more accurate way to fire rounds down range in the morning and during the dead of night

“This is not something that the Marine Corps has, but I strongly believe in the concept of a sight for the hand-held 60mm mortar,” said Sgt. Garrett Dennard, primary mortar assistant, Infantry Officer Course. “The use of this new concept sight could significantly increase the effectiveness and accuracy of the 60mm mortar.”

The demonstration also included the use of a new-concept sling for the M224 mortar; the sling would allow the Marine to hold the tip of the barrel without the use of gloves. The sling also provides an easier way to carry the mortar.

According to Rick Sams, project manager, Marine Forces Pacific Experimentation Center, the idea to develop a sight for the M224 came in the form of a letter from a chief warrant officer.

“The reason we came up with these ideas was to help improve the portability and accuracy of the [M224 60mm mortar],” said Sams. “We also wanted to improve the accuracy of fire direction during the day and at night in hand-held mode. Our research prior to this demonstration showed a 22 percent increase of accuracy during the day and a 29 percent increase of accuracy at night.”

However, this demonstration is by no means a selling point, but it does show the technology exists to improve and further the capabilities of the M224  mortar, said Sams.

“Although the new sights and slings are not a priority for the Marine Corps, it should be kept in the back of our minds, for use in the future,” said Chief Warrant Officer Three Shelby Lasater, infantry officer gunner, Infantry Officer Course. 

Correspondent: cuong.le@usmc.mil
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