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News Article

£11 million sniper system unveiled

An Equipment and Logistics news article

12 Mar 08

A new sniper system has been developed that will give snipers in the Armed Forces more power, precision and stealth than ever before.

L115A3 sniper rifle

The new L115A3 sniper rifle
[Picture: Andrew Linnett]

Snipers from 16 Air Assault Brigade, who are due to deploy on operations later this month, put the new L115A3 rifle through its paces, firing at targets with pinpoint accuracy from 900 yards (823 metres) away.

The rifle fires a larger calibre round over longer distances and has a state-of-the-art telescopic sight with twice the magnifying power of the old version. It is also equipped with brand new all-weather day and night sights, which will give snipers round the clock capability, something that they have not had before.

In the current climate, the need for snipers on operations has increased. They are vital in helping to engage targets at a range sufficient enough to keep the threat at a safe distance.

Their ability makes them high value targets for the enemy and so it is essential that they are well equipped. This new rifle will make them even more effective.

A camouflaged sniper

A camouflaged sniper putting the new rifle through its paces
[Picture: Andrew Linnett]

A senior officer at the Support Weapons School in Warminster said:

"With this new rifle we now expect to be able to engage a target at 1,500 metres. With the old version it was about 1,000 metres.

"Every soldier wants to be a sniper as they're held in extremely high regard. Battalions are desperate to send soldiers here for training and our courses are always full."

Divisional Instructor for the sniper training course, 'Howie', is responsible for ensuring snipers across the Army are well trained and know the full capability of the kit. He said:

"Feedback from the guys who have used this weapon is really positive. They are impressed with the range and the firepower it offers. It really is an awesome bit of kit."

This significant investment demonstrates how highly snipers are regarded in fighting the enemy at range but also to minimise so-called 'collateral damage'.

new sniper rifle

The new sniper rifle can engage a target at 1,500 metres
[Picture: Andrew Linnett]

Colonel Peter Rafferty, the Defence Equipment and Support Dismounted Close Combat Team leader, explained:

"Snipers give our forces the ability to remove high-value targets without collateral damage. They represent precision attack and a covert surveillance capability. To that end they represent a weapon system and the whole system requirement is being met by this programme, a result of listening to experienced practitioners of the art of sniping.
"I am delighted with the results that the project team has achieved and the depth of co-operation the user community, sponsor and industry developed to deliver this much needed upgrade to a core capability."

The 580 weapons have been produced by British firm Accuracy International Ltd based in Portsmouth and the day sights are manufactured by Schmidt & Bender.

Other elements of the Sniper System Improvement Programme include night sights, laser range finders and tripods.

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