Marines Testing Experimental Flash Bang Mortar Round

first published on July 23, 2018 by

1st Battalion, 3rd Marines field tested 81mm experimental non-lethal Indirect Fire Munition (IDFM) flash bang mortar rounds during RIMPAC 2018.

flash bang mortar

Each round houses 14 flash bang distraction/disorientation devices that can be used as a combat multiplier in a number of scenarios where inflicting casualties isn’t the intended purposes.

As a veteran mortarman speaking from personal experience, our mortar tubes were left in the shipping containers throughout my Iraq deployment, because the threat of inflicting collateral damage was too great. Mortar soldiers were shifted to fill other roles like quick reaction force (QRF), Personal Security Detail (PSD), and Sensitive Site Exploitation (SSE). These new munitions will allow mortar sections to remain relevant on the urban battlefield.

Some examples of use include:

Terrain Denial – Disperse a riot or mob from an area. If a downed aircraft with sensitive technology needs to be destroyed by airstrike, but civilians are crawling all over it, the site can be cleared by flash bang mortar rounds. The same principle can be applied to an enemy dwelling that is also used by civilians in much the same way “door knocking” is used by Israel prior to airstrikes. The rounds can be used to overtly mark a target and warn nearby civilians to vacate the area before the actual destruction of the site.

Enemy Suppression – Jihadist tactics center around using densely populated areas to stage attacks in hopes that Americans returning fire will kill or injure civilians. With the use of the non-lethal mortar rounds, enemies firing from urban areas can be suppressed while friendly troops maneuver into position.

Distraction and Misdirection – Fake left, move right. For decades smoke rounds have been used to conceal troop movement, but for just as long, have also been used to feign troop movement in order to trick the enemy. The same concept can be applied to the non-lethal mortar rounds. If you want the enemy to think you’re attacking from the east, pummel their east flank with non-lethals while quietly moving your main force into killing distance from the west.

The new experimental mortar rounds would make a great addition to any combat unit’s tool box, and considering the infantry’s love for various flash bang pranks while deployed, these new munitions are sure to escalate those shenanigans to new heights.