M7 Baseplate for use in conventional mode – 14.4 lb (7 kg) or
M8 baseplate for use in handheld mode – 3.6 lb (2 kg)
and the M64A1 Sight Unit – 2.5 lb (1 kg)
The mount consists of a bipod and a base plate, which is provided with screw type elevating and traversing mechanisms to elevate/traverse the mortar. The M64A1 sight unit is attached to the bipod mount. The mortar can be fired in the conventional mode or the handheld mode. This smooth-bore system can be gravity-fired or fired by using a manual spring-loaded firing system.
The M225 LWCMS (Lightweight Company Mortar System) replaced the older (WWII-era) 60 mm M2 Mortar and M19 Mortar. These weapons only had an effective range of 2,000 m (2,187 yd). While the M224 was designed to fire all types of the older ammunition, its primary rounds are of the newer, longer-range type that range out to 3,489 m (3,816 yd).
In 2011, an improved M224A1 version was brought into service. The M224A1 consists of the M225A1 tube, M170A1 bipod assembly, M7A1 baseplate, M8 auxiliary baseplate and the M64A1 sight unit. By reducing the number of components and using lighter materials, such as aluminium and Kevlar reinforced composites, the mortar system weighs 20% less with a reduction of 9.3 lb (4 kg). The US Army plans to replace all legacy M224s with the new M224A1. Concurrently, a lighter version of the 81mm M252 mortar is being developed.
The M224 rounds have three fuse types: The Multioption Fuze (M734), the Point-Detonating Fuze (M525), and Timer fuze. The M734 is used for the M720 HE round and can be set to function as proximity burst, near-surface burst, impact burst, or delay burst.