Weapons: Laser Guided Mortar Round


p> November 26, 2007: The U.S. is shipping laser guided 120mm mortar rounds to Iraq and Afghanistan. The XM395 Precision Guided Mortar Munition has been in development for twelve years, and was almost cancelled at least once because of the delays. The 38 pound XM395 round has a range of seven kilometers, and will land within three feet of where the laser is pointed. Unguided mortar shells cannot put the first round that close, and requires firing several rounds, and adjusting aim, before you get one on the target. A guided mortar round is very useful in urban warfare, where a miss will often kill civilians. The 120mm mortar round has about five pounds of explosives, compared to 15 pounds in a 155mm shell. The smaller explosive charges limits collateral damage to civilians. The XM395 completed its testing over the Summer, and will begin arriving in Iraq and Afghanistan early next year. Each round will cost about $40,000. Every U.S. infantry battalion is equipped with 120mm mortars.