STEP ON IT The folks from FNH also brought with them a tamer tube weapon - a compact, 51mm "toe mortar." Manufactured by Titanite S.A., the FLY-K-TN8111 (where do they get these designations?) weighs in just shy of 10 pounds. Its maximum range is 650 meters. The FLY-K is designed to take out point targets, such as machine-gun positions and snipers. Under most battlefield conditions, the system can be fired without giving away its position. It has a very low acoustic signature - less than 52 decibels at 100 meters - and fires smokeless, flashless ammo. In addition to high-explosive ammunition, several other types of mortar rounds are available for this shoulder-carried weapon. Two of the more interesting types are an infrared illuminating round and a percussion round that functions under water. The system's big brother, an electronically fired 12-round system, is dubbed the FLY-K-TN8464. This 220-pound unit, effective out to 800 meters, is an area-protection system that can be hauled around in the back of a small, open military vehicle, mounted on a light armored vehicle, set up on a beach or used to cover some other likely avenue of enemy approach. A 12-round salvo with high-explosive fragmentation ammo is sufficient to saturate an area of 130 meters by 80 meters with 6,960 preformed fragments, its manufacturer points out. This larger system was not demonstrated during the Shoot-out. Our evaluators liked the shoulder-carried FLY-K. "A great weapon," said one. He noted that the rather small base plate for the system settled quickly in the soft sand on the Blackwater range. ""Might want to consider a slightly broader base adapter for use in desert/soft soil," he noted. Other comments about the system pointed out that it "could be useful if the system is fired in rapid succession, as in close combat situations. Overall, a great weapon. My only concern is about night sighting." Said another: "Very interesting to be able to carry as effective a weapon as this in so small and simple a package." He went on, however, to succinctly allude to the fact that this might not be the right time to try to generate U.S. interest in the system: "Unfortunately," he concluded, "it is French." From armed forces journal Why is it, when companies are, by the sounds of the above still pursuing 51mm mortars, that we are supposedly getting rid of ours? The above weapon, sounds almost identical to what we have got in sevice and have had for a long while. The UGL cannot anywhere near match the effects of 51, doesn't have all the ammunition natures 51 has, nor the range. 51 gives the platoon some low level, but guaranteed indirect fire capability, it has shown it's worth repeatedly on both telic and herrick. What i the sketch here, is a replacement seriously going through the pipeline, and if so will it be ready in time that we don't have a gap in capabilitys as the 51 is taken out of service before the replacement is ready? Has the move been flagged up as a bad one by commanders? Most importantly is it still going ahead or has someone on high seen sense?