Restricted presentation of the new Polish LMP-2017 commando mortar was carried out on the 15'th of December 2017. Polish Minister of Defence Antoni Macierewicz and Vice-Minister Michał Dworczyk were present during the display, which included firing trials. LMP-2017 is a multi-caliber commando mortar designed and developed from the ground up by Zaklady Mechaniczne Tarnów (ZMT). The weapon was created to fulfill the need of Wojska Obrony Terytorialnej (Teritorial Defence Forces - WOT) but also peaked the interest of Special Forces representatives.
Two caliber variant of the LMP-2017 were shown - 60 mm used by the Polish Army (LM-60D and LM-60C mortars) and 60,7 mm utilized by the many NATO States. Conversion between calibers requires a barrel change and can be effected in the battlefield conditions.
Polish weapon can be compared to Czech LRM vz. 99 ANTOS mortar, already used by Poland`s Special Forces and Aeromobile troops. The first user of Czech weapon, distributed in Poland by Works 11, was the GROM special unit. The first mortars were ordered (coupled with thermobaric munitions) in 2010. Later the vz. 99 was introduced to other Special Forces units.
The multi-caliber feature of LMP-2017 was forced by the Polish Ministry of Defense. Initial plan concerned procurement of 60 mm mortars to be used with the 59,4 mm munitions stored by the Armed Forces. Later, the barrels were to be replaced with a larger caliber version. In the meantime, ZM Dezamet was to develop domestic, 60,4 mm ammunition. A test batch of 100 rounds has already been developed and tested.
LMP-2017 was fast-tracked when Armament Inspectorate started negotiations regarding procurement of 600 Czech mortars for WOT in 2017. At the same time, Inspectorate canceled the proceedings for 603 LM-60D light mortars from ZMT when WOT chiefs decided that they prefer the commando mortars instead of light mortars. This however, reduces WOT indirect fire capabilities.
Despite similar appearances to ANTOS, forced by soldiers habits, both weapons differ completely. ZMP-2017`s barrel is made of steel and has a lot longer life cycle (almost 1000 shots) than it`s counterpart`s aluminum barrel. The Polish mortar has a weight-reducing aluminum base plate and backlit liquid sight, similar to the one used in ANTOS. Titanium alloy elements are also utilized.
Polish weapon details are still secret due to patent procedures concerning solutions used in LMP-2017. Domestic manufacturing is one of the weapon`s merits. So is the price – almost two times cheaper than Czech manufactured mortar. This will help to open foreign markets. Already there are parties interested in a purchase of LMP-2017 for export.
Interestingly, Polish weapon is largely based on composite materials. This makes the mortar 1 kg lighter than WOT specified and only 0.5 kg heavier than ANTOS (which uses aluminum barrel). Use of composites (manufactured by Grupa Azoty) positively affects the weapon`s appearance as well.