USSOCOM seeks advanced sniper rifle
US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has officially expressed interest in the Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) competition, which aims at procuring a multi-calibre precision rifle for force components across the organisation.
A Request for information (RfI), posted on 6 April, stated USSOCOM is now openly seeking sources 'within the national technology and industrial base' for a commercial off-the-shelf sniper solution available with three calibre conversion kits as well as capacity to integrate a suppressor.
Selected calibres include 7.62mm x 51mm NATO; .300 Norma Magnum (.300NM); and .338 Norma Magnum (.338NM).
Other programme requirements stipulate a maximum unloaded weight of no more than 7.7kg and maximum length (without suppressor attached) of 127cm. Precision requirements call for anywhere between 0.5 and 1.5 MOA at 300m for all three calibres, dependent upon configuration, the synopsis added.
Industry sources explained to Shephard that the ASR was seeking a bolt-action solution although this has yet to be officially documented by USSOCOM over semi-automatic models.
'The US government is performing market research to identify responsible sources within the national technology and industrial base who have the skills, experience, and knowledge required to successfully produce ASR System,' the synopsis reads while highlighting a deadline of 24 April 2017 for responses.
The announcement signifies USSOCOM's first public proclamation of its intention to pursue the ASR concept following the failure of the Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR) competition which was initiated back in 2009. In this programme, USSOCOM selected Remington to provide a variant of its Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR) although the programme failed to come to fruition.
Speaking to Shephard, defence sources associated with the ASR requirement explained how interested parties would most likely include Accuracy International's AX-Series sniper systems; Barrett's Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD); SAKO's TRG-42 solution; and Remington's MSR.
USSOCOM is seeking to replace a series of bolt-action sniper solutions across its inventory, including the MK13, MK40 and M24 firearms.
Sources explained to Shephard Media how the ASR programme is expected to provide US Army Green Beret and Ranger units; US Navy SEAL Teams; and Marine Raider Units, with an operational capability over the next few years.
On 30 March, USSOCOM also published a Broad Agency Announcement calling for the procurement of Advanced Sniper Barrels in .300 WIN and .300 NM calibres. This move is designed to provide operators with lighter weight options for increased mobility across the battlefield, sources concluded.
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