Pentagon Approves More Potent 60mm Mortar Round

U.S. Army soldiers fire the M224 60mm Lightweight Mortar. The Pentagon just approved full fielding of the more potent M1061 60mm Mortar cartridge with Lethality Enhanced Ordnance technology. Photo. ArmyU.S. Army soldiers fire the M224 60mm Lightweight Mortar. The Pentagon just approved full fielding of the more potent M1061 60mm Mortar cartridge with Lethality Enhanced Ordnance technology. Photo. Army

Orbital ATK Inc. announced today that the Pentagon has approved the fielding of a new 60mm mortar round significantly more potent than standard versions.

The U.S. Joint Munitions Command has approved full materiel release of the M1061 60mm Mortar cartridge, according to an ATK press release.

The M1061 was developed as a result of collaboration between Orbital ATK and teammate Saab Bofors Dynamics Switzerland Ltd., and the U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey.

The M1061’s performance-enhancing fragmentation technology has been successfully tested on warheads ranging in size from 0.5 to 250 pounds, according to the release. M1061 warheads with Lethality Enhanced Ordnance, or LEO, technology achieved increased wide-area effects as compared with conventional warheads.

The goal of the program was to increase the effectiveness of the 60mm mortar while improving its insensitive munitions characteristics, according to the release.

The increase in lethality was accomplished by utilizing a matrix comprised of pre-formed fragments and PBXN-110 explosive. As a result, the M1061 achieves near 81mm lethality, providing users significantly enhanced capability while enabling them to expand on the traditional 60mm mortar target sets, according to the release.

Full materiel release signifies that the U.S. Army has rigorously tested and evaluated the warhead and determined it is safe, operationally suitable and logistically supportable for use, according to the release.

During the initial phases of development, Orbital ATK produced more than 12,000 M1061 cartridges for the U.S. Army and its customers, 1,000 of which were sent to theater ahead of full material release.

“Our goal at Orbital ATK has always been to increase the safety of our warfighters while maximizing their options in the field, and the M1061 is a perfect example of this strategic capability,” said Pat Nolan, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Missile Products Division of the Defense Systems Group.

“We will continue to innovate with our LEO technology, both for today’s upgraded threats and for solutions to meet future compliance standards.”

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Matt Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.