The Army is doubling down on a brand new sniper rifle

The Army is almost doubling its purchase of new bolt-action Precision Sniper Rifles as its primary anti-personnel sniper system of choice, according to budget documents.

The Army wants to purchase 536 Precision Sniper Rifles (PSR) for a total of $10.13 million, according to the service’s fiscal year 2019 budget request, an increase over the 357 systems that the service initially purchased for $5.74 million in fiscal year

The Army’s PSR, which the documents indicate will be produced by Barrett Firearms, will eventually become the “primary anti-personnel sniper weapons system” for all of the service’s sniper teams, replacing the M107 sniper rifle and offering “improved accuracy in a lighter weight package.”

The PSR “provides increased probability of hit over the current M2010 [Enhanced Sniper Rifle] configuration at distances up to twelve-hundred (1200) meters and increases range out to fifteen-hundred (1500), which enhances the sniper role in supporting combat operations and improves sniper survivability,” according to Army budget documents.

The system also includes a sound suppressor and direct view optics with fire control capabilities which “allows snipers, when supplemented with a clip-on image intensifier or thermal sensor system, to effectively engage enemy snipers, as well as crew served and indirect fire weapons virtually undetected in any light condition,” according to Army budget documents.

The details of the new sniper system are unclear. SOCOM originally developed a PSR, dubbed the Mk 21 Precision Sniper Rifle, with Remington Arms’ Modular Sniper Rifle chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum in 2013 before initiating the command’s Advanced Sniper Rifle (ASR) program as a replacement.

But according to The War Zone, SOCOM hasn’t issued a PSR-related contract since 2015, and the command has since shifted its focus to procuring the ASR based on Barrett’s Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) system, which was originally developed as a contender for SOCOM’s PSR contract.

The budget documents’ characterization of the Army’s new PSR as a Barrett-made “multi-caliber, bolt-action sniper rifle” suggests the new system is based on the same MRAD system that the company furnished SOCOM with for the ASR program, a sniper system the Marine Corps also wants to procure as part of its fiscal year 2021 budget request.

The Army’s request for 536 sniper systems is just the beginning. According to budget documents, the service plans on purchasing an additional 1,516 PSR systems between fiscal years 2022 and 2025, bringing the service’s arsenal to 2,545 at an estimated cost of $45.476 million through fiscal year 2025.

PEO Soldier and Barrett did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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