|Place of origin||Israel|
|Used by||See users|
|Weight||136–272 kilograms (300–600 lb)|
|Shell||Standard 120mm NATO mortar round|
|Carriage||M151 Jeep style carriage wheels|
|Rate of fire||1st minute: 16 rounds burst, 4 rounds per minute sustained thereafter.|
|Effective range||200–9,500 metres (220–10,390 yd)|
|Maximum range||10,500 metres (11,500 yd)|
The Soltam M-65 is a 120 mm mortar that was developed by Tampella in 1953 via introduction of new baseplate for 120 Krh/40 invented by Hans Otto Donner. In 1960s Soltam Systems of Israel bought a license. The mortar system comes in two versions, a standard mortar and a long-range version.
This heavy mortar is light enough to be transported by helicopter sling load, drop by parachute or carried in an APC such as the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier. It can also be towed as a normal artillery piece or even manhandled if necessary. The wheels on the carriage are the same as fitted to the M151 Jeep, and have handling rings to aid in manhandling it. All components are made of chrome-plated or stainless steel to resist wear and corrosion. The M-65 is the standard version of this mortar, while the A-7 is the long-range version.
Long range version
The 120 mm A7 long-range Mortar is a further development of the Soltam made M-65, it was designed for rapid deployment units and for operation by fewer personnel than previous models, and fires to range of 8,500 metres (9,300 yd) using the M59 bomb and 9,500 metres (10,400 yd) with the M100 bomb. Only a crew of 4 is required to operate the mortar due to its unique design carriage, from which the weapon is not dismounted for use (although, when being fired the Mortar does not rest on its wheels). The carriage is a lightweight two-wheeled carriage with a torsion-bar suspension. It enables the Mortar to be towed behind any vehicle with a towing hook of the right height and size, as well as being pulled by troops or air lifted.
In some roles the carriage is not used and the Mortar is brought into action without it. The A7 Mortar can be brought in and out of action by 4 crew members in less than 1 minute. In addition to supporting the Mortar, the carriage carries the accessories and tools that are required for operating and maintaining the weapon, which includes an extractor to facilitate the safe removal of the projectile in the event of a misfire.
Vehicle mounted version
- M3 Mk. D - a M3 Half-track based 120 mm mortar carrier (used exclusively by Israel Defense Forces until replaced by the M1064 Mortar carrier),
- M1064 mortar carrier - a M113 APC based 120 mm mortar carrier,
- M1129 Mortar Carrier - a Stryker based 120 mm mortar carrier.
- Islamic Republic of Iran Army (the design plans of Soltam M-65 and Soltam M-71 was allegedly stolen by Iranian spies and brought back to Iran)
- South African Army (International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Military Balance 2008 lists 36 M-65 120mm mortars in service)
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