The Army has been trying to come up with a workable guided mortar round for about 20 years now. It looks like the time has finally come:
The Army is fast tracking a GPS guided 120mm mortar round to Afghanistan in response to an urgent request for precision mortar fire from commanders on the ground there, and should be fielded by the end of the year. Called the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (APMI), it improves upon the current round’s 136-meter Circular Error Probable (CEP) reducing it to about 10-meters.
That’s good news for grunts on the ground. The 120mm mortar is the battalion commander’s “hip pocket” artillery, and it packs a good punch. The problem has always been that mortars are not terribly accurate. Their high angle of fire and their low velocity leaves them vulnerable to wind drift, among other things. This, of course, addresses that.
There’s another consideration. Most of the time, if the first mortar round doesn’t drop right on the enemy’s head, he’s got some time to seek cover. Now, he’s liable to be caught in the open with the first round, which greatly increases the chances of killing them.