L16 81mm mortar

L16 81mm mortar

81mm mortar L16
Type Mortar
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment, Fort Halstead (barrel and bipod)
Designed 1956
Manufacturer Royal Ordnance (barrel and bipod)
Produced 1965
Weight combat 35.3 kg (78 lb)
Barrel length 1,280 millimetres (50 in)
Crew 3

Caliber 81 millimetres (3.2 in)
Action muzzle loading
Breech none
Recoil baseplate and spring buffered mounting clamp
Rate of fire 15rpm, 1-12 rpm sustained, 20 rpm for short periods
Muzzle velocity 225 m/s (740 ft/s)
Effective firing range HE: 100 - 5,675 m
(109 - 6,206 yd)
Smoke: 100 - 5,675 m (109 - 6,206 yd)
Flare: 400 - 4,800 m
(437 - 5,249 yd)
Maximum firing range 5,650 m (6,180 yd)
Feed system Manual
Sights Optical (C2) with Trilux illumination

The United Kingdom's L16 81 mm mortar is the standard mortar used by the British armed forces. It originated as a joint design by the UK and Canada. The version produced and used by Australia is named the F2 81mm Mortar, whilst the version used by the U.S. armed forces is known as the M252.

It was introduced in 1965/6, replacing the Ordnance ML 3 inch Mortar in UK service, where it is used by the Army, the Royal Marines and the RAF Regiment.

In UK armoured/mechanised infantry battalions, the L16 mortar is mounted in an FV 432 AFV (six[1] per battalion mortar platoon). British army light role infantry battalions and the Royal Marines may transport their mortars in BvS 10 vehicles (the replacement for the Bv 206). Otherwise, it is carried dissassembled in three loads, (barrel, baseplate and bipod with sights, each approximately 11 kg), normally carried by a vehicle or helicopter and assembled for firing from the ground.

The weapon can be man-packed by the mortar detachment, but this is an arduous task (especially for the carrier of the bipod) and is preferably avoided. The ammunition in this case would be carried by other soldiers of the battalion. In addition to their normal equipment, each soldier would carry four bombs in a pair of two-bomb, plastic containers (known as greenies in the British Army).

The mortar has been used by many countries' armed forces, including the Netherlands.[2] Versions of the M113 APC are used by many countries to transport their mortars.


Map with L16 operators in blue

Current operators

Former operators


  1. Richard A. Rinaldi. "MODERN BRITISH TOE'S" (PDF). Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  2. "Dutch Army site on 81mm mortar". Retrieved 4 November 2014.
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