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Battalion Level Weapons

Battalion Level Weapons

In the Irish Army a battalion is an infantry combat unit. The Battalion is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and is made up of 3 Rifle Companies, a HQ Company and a Support Company. The Support Company contains the heavy weapons the Battalion Commander needs to support the Rifle Companies and complete the Battalion mission. The Support Company consists of a Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) Platoon, an 81mm Mortar Platoon and an Anti-Armour Platoon.

Support Company is a battalion commander's asset and as such he/she can group some of Support Company's weapons into a fire support group (FSG) to support the battalion in offensive operations, or assign detachments or sections of direct fire weapons to add firepower to individual Rifle Companies in support of their mission in offensive, defensive, or retrograde operations. Typically, the 81mm Mortar Platoon will remain under the control of the battalion commander, regardless of the nature of the operation. However, mortar fire controllers (MFCs) will be assigned to company commanders to give them the ability to call and adjust accurate indirect fire support.

Also found in Support Company are the battalion commander's reconnaissance assets, the Recce Platoon. The role of the Recce Platoon is provide accurate and timely information by day or night, in all weather, in all phases of war. Recce soldiers serve as the battalion commanders' 'eyes and ears' and can operate up to 10km forward of the battalion gathering information about terrain, routes, and the enemy and feeding it back to battalion headquarters to enable decision making and planning. The 24 soldiers of Recce Platoon are highly trained and highly motivated, and quite often some of the most experienced in the battalion. They are experts at land navigation by day and night and as such are often used as guides to bring Rifle Companies to their forming up point (FUP) prior to a deliberate attack. Some Recce Platoon tasks include: close target recce (CTR), route recce, FUP recce and marking, guide tasks, deploying covert observation posts, and liaison. In offence, the Recce Platoon locates the enemy, observes the enemy, and guides the battalion into the best possible conditions for attack. In defence, the Recce Platoon can be found forward of the infantry battalion hidden in sub-surface observation posts to watch for approaching enemy and harass them with indirect fire via attached artillery fire support teams (FST). Within Recce Platoon, there are four sniper pairs. The snipers are grouped in Recce Platoon for admin and logistic purposes and may be tasked independently of the platoon, or in support of recce tasks. Snipers are highly skilled soldiers, many of whom are also qualified as Recce soldiers. The snipers can harass the enemy at long ranges, observe the enemy to gather information, disrupt an enemy attack by targeting their command and control (leaders), and can provide overwatch while friendly soldiers conduct a CTR or a raid.

AI 92 Sniper Rifle

The AI 92 Sniper Rifle was introduced into service in the Army in 1992. It is the second generation of accuracy international rifles and is an improved version of its predecessor, the L96 AI. The weapon was designed by Malcolm Cooper and is based on a sporting rifle design. The weapon was selected in 1991 from a short-list of four rifles.

AI 92 Sniper Rifle Statistics
ManufacturerAccuracy International
Weapon TypeSniper Rifle
Country of ManufactureUnited Kingdom
Entered Service1992
Ammunition FeedMagazine Fed
Mode of FireSingle Shot, Bolt Action
SightSchmidt and Bender

Browning HMG

Heavy Machine Guns have been produced for most of the last century. There has been a resurgence of interest in their use as armies changed calibre of their small arms weapons from 7.62 mm to 5.56 mm, resulting in reduced ranges. The HMG can bring fire to bear at ranges out to 2200 metres. The HMG can also be used in an air defence role with special mount and sights and it is the main organic air defence weapon in the Infantry Battalion.

Browning 12.7mm Heavy Machine Gun Statistics
ManufacturerFabrique Nationale
Weapon TypeHeavy Machine Gun
Country of ManufactureBelgium
Entered Service1970s
Ammunition FeedBelt Fed (disintegrating links)
Mode of FireAutomatic Fire
Rate of Fire550 rounds/min
Length of Barrel1143mm
SightIron Sight

81mm Mortar

The 81mm Mortar long barrel with the C2 AI Sight Unit and its ammunition, together with the Morfire Fire Control Computer make this equipment among the most modern and accurate in service anywhere in the world. The sight unit and fire control instruments can achieve an accuracy of one mil (1 m at 1000m) both for direction and elevation. This accuracy can be maintained in environmental extremes and in periods of limited or reduced visibility. The use of laser range finders can increase the probability of a first or second round hit.

81mm Mortar Statistics
ManufacturerHocthkiss Brandt
Weapon TypeMedium Mortar
Country of ManufactureFrance
Entered Service
Ammunition FeedMuzzle Loaded
Mode of FireSingle Shot
Rate of Fire12 rounds/min


The Javelin is a "fire-and-forget" missile with lock-on before launch and automatic self guidance. This means that after the weapon has fired, the missile does not need any human intervention and the gunner is free to reload, change position, or avoid enemy countermeasures. The Javelin weapon system consists of two distinct components:

  • The Command Launch Unit (CLU)
  • The Missile

The CLU incorporates an integrated day sight and a thermal imaging sight. The gunner’s controls for the missile system are on the CLU. The day sight is equipped with x 4 magnification and the night sight with x 4 and x 9 magnification optics. The Javelin has two attack modes:

  • Direct attack
  • Top attack

In direct attack mode, the missile travels to the target using the shortest route possible. This method is useful for covered targets such as bunkers and buildings. In top attack mode, the missile climbs above the target and strikes the roof of the target. This method is effective against armoured vehicles where the roof is the least protected area of the vehicle.

Javelin Statistics
ManufacturerRaytheon/Lockheed Martin
Weapon TypePortable Anti-Armour Weapon
Country of ManufactureUSA
Entered Service2003
Missile Diameter126mm
Ammunition FeedPreloaded Single Shot
Mode of FireSingle Shot
Planning Range2200m
Rate of FireSingle Use (Missile Component)
GuidanceLock-on Automatic Self-Guidance