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Marine Corps Explores New Weapon System Options

USMC seeks a mortar aboard a HMMWV or smaller-sized vehicle

The U.S. Marine Corps is exploring potential options for a new vehicle-mounted indirect fire weapon system. Service interest in the new capability surfaced earlier this month in a sources-sought notice from the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) at Quantico, Va.

The notice called for “market research information from sources capable of fully satisfying a need for a vehicle-mounted indirect fire weapon system capable of rapid emplacement and employment.”

An overview of specific capabilities identified for the notional system included: ability to be mounted on and fired from a HMMWV or smaller-sized vehicle like the Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV); capability for remote employment and operation from inside the vehicle or other remote location; capability for both indirect and direct fire modes; ability to fire at least 10 rounds without requiring a manual external reload; high mobility, “with the ability to survive transport over extreme terrain and obstacles”; ease of maintenance and service; all weather operations; use of currently fielded ammunition; and the ability to operate while utilizing the vehicle’s power, without adversely impacting the vehicle’s performance.

A subsequent question-and-answer process provided some clarification to the initial criteria.

When questioned about desired calibers and direct/indirect fire capabilities, for example, MCWL representatives acknowledged that they were “mostly interested” in mortar calibers 60 mm, 81 mm, and 120 mm in both indirect and direct fire roles.

Vehicle mounting was likewise clarified as “on a vehicle no larger than a HMMWV, but smaller would be even better (ITV).”

Ideal criteria also included auto-lay and the ability to interface with the Mortar Ballistic Computer.

Finally, MCWL representatives confirmed that the command would welcome information on systems that meet the majority, if not all, of the characteristics indicated.

Interested industry participants had until June 24, 2011, to submit their initial responses to the notice.


Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...