Unveiled earlier this year the L115A3 rifle, part of the Sniper System Improvement Programme (SSIP), is a larger calibre weapon which provides state-of-the-art telescopic day and night all-weather sights, increasing a sniper's effective range considerably; thereby beating enemy forces' capability.
The first batch of SSIP systems was deployed to Afghanistan with members of 16 Air Assault Brigade in May this year with subsequent deliveries being made to training units across the UK.
The last of the L115A3 rifles produced under the £3.7million contract with Portsmouth-based company Accuracy International Limited were handed over to Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) yesterday, Wednesday 12 November 2008.
Group Captain Paul Ridge, the DE&S Light Weapons, Photography and Batteries Integrated Project Team Leader, said:
"I am delighted to accept the delivery of the last weapon of this order from Accuracy International whose co-operation and performance has been outstanding.
"The new weapon system has already been used on operations and is proving to be an outstanding system. Having just returned from Afghanistan, where I had the opportunity to discuss the weapon system with snipers, it is clear that this battle-winning equipment has already proven to be a reliable and extremely accurate system that is giving our forces a real edge."
Tom Irwin, Managing Director of Accuracy International, said:
"Accuracy International has supplied sniper rifles to the British forces since the eighties. We accepted the challenge to provide a new .338 calibre rifle and were selected by the MOD, after testing and trials, and against international competition.
"The SSIP contract is extremely significant to us and we have exerted all of our effort to complete this programme on time. We are proud to supply the best .338 sniper rifle in the world to our forces."
Designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600 metres and harassing fire out to 1,100 metres, Accuracy International's L96 sniper rifle has also been upgraded with a new x3-x12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.
The L115A3 long range rifle fires an 8.59mm bullet which is heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96 and less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.
Other elements of the Sniper System Improvement Programme include night sights, spotting scopes, laser range finders and tripods, and will be sourced from a variety of suppliers taking the total procurement value to over £11million.