PGZ, the Polish defense industry conglomerate, announced that it delivered 150 sets of the LMP-2017 60mm light mortar to Polish Army and Territorial Forces on December 2, 2019. This is the first large delivery from the contract for 780 mortars which was signed in December 2018. Deliveries are expected to be completed by 2022.
The LMP-2017 brings a robust and mobile indirect fire capability to the platoon or lower level for Polish units equipped with it. Intended to be hand aimed and approximately sighted, the LMP-2017 belongs to the ultralight class of mortars, sometimes called “commando mortars”, which are meant to bolster the in-direct firepower of a unit. Commando mortars have higher practical rates of fire and greater explosive throw weight compared to 40mm grenade launchers or rifle grenades, while remaining lighter than more “emplaced” 60mm mortars like the American M224. Poland also fields an emplaced 60mm mortar in the LM-60, but the LM-60 weighs approximately three times as much as the LMP-2017.
However, the LMP-2017 is heavier than the most common commando mortars in service with European armies. Hirtenberger’s 60mm M6C commando mortar weighs 5.1 kg compared to the LMP-2017’s 6.6 kg. The French 51mm LGI F1 weighs only 4.8 kg, but it has significantly decreased range compared to its 60mm counterparts.
The increased weight over other European mortars can possibly be explained by the need to provide backwards compatibility with non-standard 60mm rounds used in the LM-60, which can be done with a barrel sleeve. As the legacy rounds may be higher pressure, it’s possible that the LMP’s barrel is of a thicker profile to account for it.
To aim, the LMP-2017 uses a simple bubble sight similar to the LGI and Hirtenberger products, but with the addition of a simple electric backlight to allow for firing in night conditions. While a perfectly adequate sight for a commando mortar, other recently developed 60mm mortars like the Ukrainian M60 Camertone have featured lightweight electronic sights for increased accuracy.
Like the Hirtenberger, the LMP-2017 features multiple modes of firing via a selector on the base of the mortar. “Safe” allows for the mortar to be carried with a round chambered, “Auto” fires the round as soon as it strikes the firing pin at the bottom of the mortar, and “Trigger” allows for the mortar to be fired when the trigger is pulled.
Overall, the LMP-2017 provides the Polish Armed Forces with a made-in-Poland, modern, commando mortar. This is in line with the rest of Poland’s purchases as they gear up and modernize in preparation for peer or near-peer warfare.