Artillery / Mortars / M65

M65

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Mortar

  • ORIGIN
    Israel

  • NICKNAMES
    M120 (US designation for K6)

  • DESIGNED
    1960's (M65)
    1980's (K6)

  • DESIGNER
    Soltam

  • PRODUCTION
    1960's - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Iran - DIO
    Israel - Soltam

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good range
    Heavy
    Limited rate of fire

Introduction

The M65 is a 120mm mortar of Israeli origin. It was developed in the early 1960's and is based on the Finnish Tampella design. The M65 serves as the baseline Soltam mortar from which both light weight and long range models were derived. The latest versions remain in production.

Layout

The Soltam 120mm mortars are of a conventional design. They are able to traverse a full 360 degrees on their base plate and are supported by an adjustable bipod. All versions are muzzle loaded and drop fired.

Firepower

The original M65 has a range of 6.5 km. The current production K6 light weight mortar has a range of 7.2 km when firing unassisted rounds. The latest long range mortar has a range of 9.5 km. The maximum rate of fire is 10 rounds per minute with 5 rounds per minute being standard.

Mobility

The Soltam 120mm mortars are fielded with a two wheel carriage. The light models are equipped with a lighter carriage on which several rounds can be carried as well. The latest heavy mortar has the carriage integrated in the bipod. The carriage allows the mortars to be towed by infantry over short distances, during travel they are towed by a light vehicle.

Users

The main user of the original M65 is Israel. Soltam 120mm mortars are also widely exported. The K6 light mortar was adopted by the USA as the standard 120mm mortar. Iran produces an unlicenced copy of the M65 mortar.

Variants

Standard

The Soltam M65 is the first of the Soltam 120mm mortars and is based on the Finnish Tampella 120mm mortar. The M65 serves as the baseline Soltam mortar from which both the light weight and long range families were derived. Since the latest K6 light mortar is more capable and lighter it is no longer in production.

  • Specifications:
  • M65
TypeMortar
Crew6
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar, 1.95 m tube
Elevation+43 to +85°
Traverse360° on baseplate
Rate of fire?
Range400 m to 6.5 km
CarriageSeparate 2 wheel carriage
Weight231 kg (firing position), 351 kg (travelling)
Length?
Width?
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-

Light weight

The K5 is the first light weight version of the M65. It features a lighter and shorter barrel and much lighter base plate. The two wheel carraige is also lighter and holds several rounds of ammunition. The improved K6 replaced the K5. The K6 is similar to the K5 except for the barrel. The slightly heavier barrel improves the performance from below that of the M65 to well beyond it. The K6 also exists in a modified version with different bipod for mounting on a turntable in a vehicle.

  • Specifications:
  • K5
  • K6
TypeMortar
Crew4 - 5
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar, 1.75 m tube
Elevation+43 to +85°
Traverse360° on baseplate
Rate of fire?
Range250 m to 6.25 km
CarriageSeparate 2 wheel carriage
Weight140 kg (firing position), 266 kg (travelling)
Length?
Width?
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-
TypeMortar
Crew4 - 5
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar, 1.75 m tube
Elevation+40 to +85°
Traverse360° on baseplate
Rate of fire?
Range180 m to 7.2 km
CarriageSeparate 2 wheel carriage with 6 rounds of ammunition
Weight144 kg (firing position), 418 kg (travelling)
Length?
Width?
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-

Long range

The A4 was the first Soltam 120mm long range mortar. The A4 is very similar to the M65, but has a heavier and longer barrel. It was supplemented and eventually replaced by the improved A7. The A7 has the carriage integrated into the bipod. The wheels remain attached to the bipod in the firing position, but the mortar does not rest on them. The A7A2 is an updated version.

TypeMortar
Crew?
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar
Elevation+43 to +85°
Traverse360° using wheels
Rate of fire?
Range? to 8.5 km
CarriageSeparate 2 wheel carriage
Weight245 kg (firing position), 371 kg (travelling)
Length?
Width?
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-
TypeMortar
Crew4 - 5
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar, 2.154 m tube
Elevation+43 to +85°
Traverse360° on baseplate
Rate of fire?
Range400 m to 9.5 km
CarriageFixed 2 wheel carriage, doubling as bipod in firing position
Weight387 kg (firing position), 387 kg (travelling)
Length?
Width1.52 m (travelling)
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-
TypeMortar
Crew4 - 5
Ordnance120mm smoothbore mortar, 2.16 m tube
Elevation+40 to +85°
Traverse360° on baseplate
Rate of fire?
Range200 m to 9.5 km
CarriageFixed 2 wheel carriage, doubling as bipod in firing position
Weight419 kg (firing position), 475 kg (travelling)
Length2.92 m (travelling)
Width1.5 m (travelling)
Height?
Towing vehicle4x4 light truck
Speed?
Remarks-

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