Arrowpointe Dragoon 300 AMC (Armored Mortar Carrier)

     Notes:  The Dragoon 300 AMC is a light mortar carrier based upon the Dragoon multipurpose chassis.  The Dragoon 300 Mortar Carrier has had some small sales to a variety to foreign customers, but no big sales or use by the large countries that arms dealers covet.

     As a mortar carrier, the Dragoon’s turret is removed, and a pair of bi-fold hatches is installed to allow the mortar to fire.  The mortar is mounted on a turntable which is capable of 360-degree fire.  Stops can also be set in the turntable to allow the crew to quickly shift fires to pre-determined azimuths.  The interior, like most mortar carriers, is largely taken up by the mortar and its installation, ammunition, and fuzes, as well as legacy fire control equipment like plotting boards, protractors, grease pencils, maps, etc.  However, one might find more space inside than in most mortar carriers.  The 81mm mortar can operate with a crew of four or five.

     The driver and commander are in the front, with the driver on the right and commander beside him.  They have a small bullet-resistant windshield in front of them, and vision blocks to the sides.  Vision blocks are also present in front of the hatches for use when the vehicle is buttoned up. They have hatches above them and can also reach their stations trough the troop compartment.  Their hatches have night vision blocks, which can be removed and replaced with an armored block.  The driver has a conventional control set, though he has power brakes.  The driver and commander have electrically-powered raising and lowering of their seats.  The crew has three seats in the rear, simple fold-down pads on metal seats.  The wide doors on either side are retained in the Mortar Carrier, and the firing ports on either side and the one in the rear are also retained. (The rear firing port is a bit difficult to fire from due to lack of space.)  There is no gunner’s station, but the commander is armed with a pintle-mounted machinegun (though little ammunition for the machinegun is carried as part of the basic load).  In the 1990s, Arrowpointe began offering Mortar Ballistic Computers with the Mortar Carrier. At the same time, data-capable long-range radios which could pass information to the MBC were added for customers who bought the MBC for their Dragoon-300 Mortar Carriers.

     The Dragoon-300 MC borrows the starter, vision blocks, bilge pumps, control knobs and electrical and hydraulic components from the M-113A2 APC; automotively, many components are the same as on the M-809 medium truck, particularly in the suspension.  The engine of the Dragoon-300 MC is a Detroit Diesel 6V-53T 300-horsepower turbocharged diesel engine (again, a modified version of that of the M-113), coupled to an automatic transmission. The Dragoon-300 MC has a flood-type Halon fire suppression system, but this must be manually triggered.  There is one for the troop/front compartment and one for the engine compartment.  The suspension is 4x4 and of the off-road-type, and the Dragoon-300 has run-flat tires and central tire pressure regulation.  Armor is moderate, but angling of the front and sides helps the situation, giving it protection greater than might be expected for such a vehicle.  Armor is acceptable for such a vehicle, though appliqué armor kits are available.  All Dragoon-300 MCs and variants have a front-mounted winch with a capacity of 5 tons and 53.34 meters of cable.  The Dragoon-300 MC is amphibious, powered by wheel rotation in the water, and steered by the front wheels as if on land.  Bilge pumps must be turned on before entering the water, but other than that, there is no preparation required for amphibious operations (and turning on the bilge pumps only requires the flipping of a switch by the driver).  The driver may also fully inflate the tires using the central tire inflation system before amphibious operations to increase flotation, an operation that requires only 15 seconds. Amphibious speed is slow, and steering response is sluggish.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

Dragoon Mortar Carrier

$235,599

D, A

1.2 tons

11.28 tons

4 or 5

8

Passive IR (D, C)

Enclosed

Dragoon Mortar Carrier (w/Appliqué)

$256,805

D, A

800 kg

11.68 tons

4 or 5

8

Passive IR (D, C)

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

Dragoon Mortar Carrier

192/102

47/24/3

350

164

Stnd

W(4)

HF8  HS4  HR4

Dragoon Mortar Carrier (w/Appliqué)

185/99

45/23/3

350

170

Stnd

W(4)

HF10Sp  HS4  HF4*

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

Dragoon Mortar Carrier

None

None

81mm M-252 Mortar, M-2HB (C)

60x81mm, 600x.50

*Floor AV is 4Sp.

 

Cadillac-Gage LAV-150 Mortar Carrier

     Notes:  A mortar carrier version of the V-150/LASV-150 light APC, the mortar carrier variant was designed to provide a modicum of mobile fire support without being prohibitively expensive to countries who do not have a big defense budget.  As such, many of the countries operating the V-150/LAV-150 also bought the mortar carrier version.  In addition, there were other smaller countries who bought small amounts for general fire support.  (Though the US employed the V-100 and later the V-150 during the Vietnam War, they did not use the mortar carrier variant; however, the South Vietnamese Army did, and for a while these were used by Vietnamese forces.)

     The design of the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier follows most such vehicles – the turret is removed and large bi-fold hatches are installed on the rear deck to allow firing of the mortar.  Most other aspects of the vehicle remain virtually unchanged from the LAV-150 APC. The internal installation of the mortar is almost identical to that of the Dragoon-300 Mortar Carrier, and the turntable allows 360-degree traverse and fire.  Stops can be preset to allow the crew to quickly switch to previously defined targets (normally useful only in long bombardments).  The presets can also be used to lock the turntable, which helps to keep the mortar from drifting off target.  The LAV-150 Mortar Carrier can mount up to four light or medium machineguns for local self-defense; two may be mounted at the rear corners of the deck hatch, one may be mounted at the front right corner of this hatch, and one is normally mounted at the commander’s position at the front left of the vehicle.  Two tripods are carried to allow ground-mounting of some of these machineguns.  A baseplate and bipod are also carried strapped to the right rear side should the mortar have to be ground-mounted.  The Mortar Carrier is equipped with a Mortar Ballistic Computer, as well as a data-capable long-range radio to allow fire information to be transmitted and input into the MBC.  Again, like most such mortar carriers, the interior is cramped due to the mortar installation, ammunition, and fuzes, as well as legacy fire control equipment.

     The driver of the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier is on the front right, and commander beside him on the left.  As stated above, the commander’s overhead hatch has a pintle-mounted machinegun; this is on a manually-operated cupola.  The commander and driver are equipped with special, high-protection vision blocks; both can see to the front, and the driver has vision blocks to the right side, while the commander has all-around vision blocks built into his cupola. The driver has essentially conventional controls in his compartment, as well as controls for the bilge pump.  Above the driver’s and commander’s position are two hatches; the commander and driver may raise their seats to see out of the hatches.  The gunner’s position of the LAV-150 APC has been deleted in the mortar carrier variant.  A seat for crewmembers is found on each side at the front of the fighting compartment, and at the front in the center is another seat. (These are simple fold-down seats with a pad strapped to metal seats.)

     Power for the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier is a Cummins V-8 diesel engine; this engine is a derivative of the same engine that powers the M-113A2.  This engine develops 202 horsepower.  An Allison-made automatic transmission is installed. The axles were taken from the M-44 2.5-ton truck.  The tires were specially designed by Cadillac Gage and are run-flat and designed to run even in heavy mud without bogging down.  The tires are also puncture resistant.  The front has a 10-ton-capacity winch in it, and the vehicle carries a 5-ton snatch block to increase the winching power.  The vehicle is fully amphibious, requiring only that bilge pumps be turned on.

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

$65,753

D, A

400 kg

11.4 tons

5

8

Passive IR

Enclosed

 

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

148/75

43/24/4

303

101

Stnd

W(3)

HF7  HS4  HR3

 

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

None

None

81mm M-252 mortar, MAG (C, RF, RR, LR)

62x81mm, 4800x7.62mm

 

Cadillac-Gage LAV-300 Mortar Carrier

     Notes:  Though the LAV-300 is not merely a larger version of the LA-150, the LAV-300 Mortar Carrier is conceptually almost identical to the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier.  Like the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier, the LAV-300 Mortar Carrier has it’s turret removed, and defensive armament is similar to that of the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier.  A large amount of LAV-300s, including the Mortar Carrier, but these sales have been in dribs and drabs, and Textron (who bought Cadillac Gage in the mid-1990s) keeps opern an assembly line big enough for one vehicle, and another line which produces spare parts for the LAV-300 family already being used in the world.  Some experimentation of the LAV-300 has been made by the US Army, including when the 9th ID was a test division, and again when the Stryker was still the Infantry Armored Vehicle and the design was as yet not finalized.  Currently, no new LAV-300s of any sort are being produced, though spare parts are still being made for countries who cannot produce their own spare parts or have vehicles damaged beyond the capability of local repair facilities.

   The LAV-300 Mortar Carrier, in an effort to increase its utility, can mount either a Western-type 81mm in the rear, or a Russian/Eastern-type 82mm mortar Ithough NOT a Vasilek).  For local defense up to four machineguns may be mounted; these are mounted in the same manner as those of the LAV-150 Mortar Carrier.  Though the LAV-300 base is quite a bit larger than the LAV-150, more attention has been paid to internal stowage of crew equipment, more maps, and enhancements like an MBC, a ruggedized laptop, a data-capable long-range radio, and a GPS with a small computer of its own primarily containing maps.  Versions mounting 81mm or 82mm mortars have 360-degree turntables and can fire in any direction.  The 120mm mortar version can rotate 160 degrees (80 in each direction from the centerline), and greatly reduces the amount of space available to the crew and their gear.  A bipod and baseplate for the mortar are carried on the right rear side in case the mortar must be ground-mounted; in addition, three tripods are carried in case the machineguns must be ground mounted.

     The LAV-300 has a driver’s position on the front right, with a hatch above him and three vision blocks to the front and one to each side.  The center front vision block can be replaced with a night vision block.  On the basic APC, the commander’s position is to the rear of the driver’s position and in the center of the vehicle, and has a simple cupola with a pintle mount.  The firing ports are retained, though the two rear side firing ports are VERY difficult to access due to the vehicle’s mortar ammunition and storage for maps and legacy fire control equipment being in the same area.  The three firing points in either side of the front “cab” are also retained.  In  the right side of the hull is a small door; using this is made a little more difficult due to the size and position of the mortar installation.  Three members of the mortar crew sit back in the fighting compartment – one in each side and one in the center front.  There are strapdown points for crew gear (with plenty more on the outer hull).

          The LAV-300 is powered by a 270-horsepower Cummins VT-504 turbocharged diesel engine, coupled to an automatic transmission.  The suspension is 6x6 and of an off-road type, with puncture-resistant tires (though they are not run-flat). Ground clearance is decent and the floor armor is strengthened as a measure against mines, though it is by no means an MRAP of spaced armor-type of floor protection. The LAV-300 can have added appliqué armor.  The LAV-300 is amphibious after turning on bilge pumps and erecting a trim vane (5 minutes), but speed is quite slow in water.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (81mm)

$530,080

D, A

650 kg

16.1 tons

5

12

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (81mm) w/Appliqué

$536,430

D, A

525 kg

16.5 tons

5

12

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (82mm)

$534,451

D, A

500 kg

17.3 tons

5

12

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (82mm) w/Appliqué

$540,801

D, A

400 kg

17.7 tons

5

12

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (120mm)

$583,857

D, A

315 kg

17.57 tons

5

14

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (120mm) w/Appliqué

$593,318

D, A

215 kg

17.97 tons

5

14

Passive IR (D)

Enclosed

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (81mm)

141/72

33/17/1

200

151

Stnd

W(3)

HF8  HS5  HR4*

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (81mm) w/Appliqué

138/71

32/17/1

200

154

Stnd

W(3)

HF10Sp  HS6Sp  HR4**

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (82mm)

135/70

31/17/1

200

157

Stnd

W(3)

HF8  HS5  HR4*

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (82mm) w/Appliqué

132/69

30/16/1

200

160

Stnd

W(3)

HF10Sp  HS6Sp  HR4**

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (120mm)

130/68

30/16/1

200

163

Stnd

W(3)

HF8  HS5  HR4*

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (120mm) w/Appliqué

127/67

29/15/1

200

167

Stnd

W(3)

HF10Sp  HS6Sp  HR4**

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (81mm)

None

None

81mm M-252 mortar, MAG (C, RF, LR, RR)

62x81mm, 4800x7.62mm

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (82mm)

None

None

82mm 2B14 Podnos Motor, MAG (C, RF, LR, RR)

62x82mm, 4800x7.62mm

LAV-300 Mortar Carrier (120mm)

None

None

120mm Soltam K-6 Mortar, MAG (C, RF, LR, RR)

42x120mm, 4800x7.62mm

*Floor AV is 4.

**Roof AV is 3; Floor AV is 5Sp.

 

M-113-Based Mortar Carriers

     Notes:  The M-125A2 was introduced shortly after the M-113A2 version of the M-113 APC.  Most potential customers opted to wait the few months for the M-106A2 with its heavier mortar, or use the M-113A2 as a base chassis and arm it with a 120mm mortar.  The US used the M-125A2 as a lighter companion vehicle to the M-106A2, but by the time I went to my first AIT in 1984, we were told that the M-125A2 was almost totally phased out in active duty and that about half of the Guard and Reserve’s M-125A2 had also been phased out.  Training new mortarmen to use a vehicle-mounted mortar was one of the few uses that made heavy use of the M-125A2, but now, they have been phased out even in this role.  The M-125A2 and M-106A2 have been almost totally replaced by M-125A2s and M-106A2s that have been modified into M-1064A3s.

     The M-125A2 is an M-113A2 which has been modified to carry an 81mm mortar as its primary armament.  In this role, the modifications to the 81mm mortar actually has few modification to itself; perhaps the biggest modification is the replacement if the baseplate with one built into the floor.  A standard baseplate is strapped to left side during on the bumper to allow ground mounting of the mortar.  The bipod in this role is unmodified; it just has an unusual installation.  It can be removed from the vehicle installation and used during ground-mounting. The vehicle fires out of the hatches on the rear deck, which have been modified to be larger.  Most of the room inside the fighting compartment is taken up by the M-125A2’s copious supply of ammunition for the mortar.  Like most military vehicle, personal gear ends up strapped to the outside of the vehicle. Originally, the M-125A2 was armed with an M-29 mortar, but this was quickly switched to the M-252 when it became available.  There are seats in the fighting compartment for the mortar crewmember; these are shorter versions of those in a standard M-113.

     About the time that the M-125A2 was being developed, the US Army was developing a successor to it’s World War 2-vintage 4.2” (107mm) mortars; the 4.2” mortar had proved useful for heavy organic fire support during World War 2, Korea, and Vietnam.  Of course, the new M-30 mortar was a large, heavy mortar (nearly 275 kilograms), and the ammunition was also heavy.  The US Army quickly looked to its M-113 and M-125A2 to develop a mobile version of the M-30.  This led to the M-106A2.  The installation of the M-30 mortar in the M-106 is tailor-made for the vehicle; the turntable, bridge, and monopod are all vehicle-specific.  To allow ground mounting, the M-106A2 carries a baseplate (and it’s a mother-f getting that baseplate off the vehicle, it’s so heavy), a bridge, and a monopod, on the right side of the vehicle. The ammunition takes much of the internal volume of the fighting compartment, and the mortar installation just about the rest, so like most fighting vehicles, the exterior becomes strewn with personal gear and other gear found useful.  The deck hatches are similar to those on the M-125A2, and the rear ramp is retained, largely to allow the crew more space when the mortar is in use. Crew seating is similar to those of the M-125A2. It should be noted that, in an actual 4.2” platoon, four troops will often be split between the mortar tracks and used as ammunition bearers and messengers.

     In the early 2000s, the US Army switched to a 120mm mortar, to make it easier to share ammunition with allies.  They mounted this on a variant of their newest version of the M-113, the M-113A3, producing the M-1064A3.  At the same time, the vehicle received an MBC, a small tactical laptop, and a GPS receiver. This allows them to act as their own FDC is necessary.  The mortar, called the M-121 when mounted on the M-1064A3, might be seen as having less room for ammunition at first, but the movement of the fuel cells to the rear means that the fuel tanks are not carried in the walls of the vehicle, allowing for expanded ammunition storage while giving the crew more space to work in.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: The M-1064A3 is not available in the Twilight 2000 timeline, except for five examples found with US Army units in the southwestern US.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

M-125A2 (M-29 Mortar)

$223,759

D, A

500 kg

12.07 tons

5

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-125A2 (M-252 Mortar)

$228,579

D, A

500 kg

12.09 tons

5

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-106A2

$258,818

D, A

600 kg

11.94 tons

5

7

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

M-1064A3

$587,827

D, A

220 kg

12.92 tons

5

10

Passive IR (D)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

M-125A2

128/70

28/14/2

360

132

Stnd

T2

HF6  HS4  HR4

M-106A2

129/71

29/15/2

360

131

Stnd

T2

HF6  HS4  HR4

M-1064A3

139/99

31/21/3

360

109

Stnd

T2

HF6  HF4  HR4

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

M-125A2

None

None

M-29 or M-252 81mm Mortar, M-2HB (C)

114x81mm, 600x.50

M-106A2

None

None

81mm Mortar, M-2HB (C)

88x81mm, 600x.50

M-1064A3

None

None

120mm M-121 Mortar, M-2HB (C)

69x120mm, 600x.50