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‘Concealable Sniper Rifle’ Sought to Combat Terrorism

At the same time that the U.S. armed services and joint commands are evolving and refining their own sniper rifle system requirements, the U.S. Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) has revealed its own interest in a new sniper rifle design.

Established in 1999 by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low-Intensity Conflict and Interdependent Capabilities (ASD (SO/LIC&IC)), CTTSO was designed to consolidate research and development programs previously administered by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Command, Control, Communications and Intelligence).

Over the next decade CTTSO incorporated a number of existing program activities, ranging from the research and development efforts supporting the interagency Technical Support Working Group (TSWG) to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal/Low-Intensity Conflict (EOD/LIC) Program, which develops advanced technologies for joint service EOD and special operations forces (SOF) missions.

It also spawned new programs like the Irregular Warfare Support (IWS) Program, initiated to satisfy a growing need to improve the capacity of the United States to counter insurgencies and fight an irregular war, and the Human Social Culture Behavior (HSCB) Modeling Program, to enhance the understanding of the complex operational problems related to social and cultural terrain.

Today CTTSO is charged with providing a forum for interagency and international users to discuss mission requirements to combat terrorism, prioritize those requirements, fund and manage solutions, and deliver capabilities.

The organization’s interest in a new sniper rifle surfaced in a recent Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), which was released at the beginning of November “to identify technologies and approaches that provide near-, mid-, and long-term solutions that enhance the capabilities of the U.S. Government to combat or mitigate terrorism.”

Under the BAA, CTTSO’s Tactical Operations Support Group (a subgroup of TSWG) highlighted its mission to “Identify, prioritize, and execute research and development efforts that enhance the capabilities of DoD and interagency special operations tactical teams engaged in identifying, attacking and eliminating terrorists.”

In support of that mission, the group is seeking industry input for a new “Concealable Sniper Rifle” (CSR) that is optimized for use with both subsonic and supersonic ammunition.

“The CSR shall be bolt-action or semi-automatic and magazine fed using five and ten round magazines,” the announcement reads. “The CSR barrel shall not exceed an overall length of 14.5 inches. The muzzle brake or suppressor is in addition to this 14.5-inch limit. The barrel shall have standard quick-disconnect or threaded connections for receiving suppressors. If a threaded suppressor is offered, the system shall include a thread guard. The barrel shall be removable and installable by the operator in the field. If tools are needed for installation they shall be simple and provided with the system. After each instance of barrel installation, the rifle shall be accurate to 1 minute-of-angle (MOA) or better. The CSR shall have a lightweight, folding stock and a MIL-STD-1913 rail system at the 3, 6, 9, and 12 o’clock positions of the rifle. The 12 o’clock (top) rail shall have a 15 or 20 MOA bias and be long enough to accommodate a standard day optical sight up to 12 inches and night optics: PVS26, PVS27, and UNS-T-LR. The rails at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock shall be movable and removable based on operator preference. The CSR shall be developed and delivered as an optimized weapon system inclusive of a commercial/government-off-the-shelf 12” or less variable power day optic, bipod system, suppressor, and magazines. Developmental variable power day optics, bipod systems, suppressors, and magazines will be considered but must be justified based on improved performance or weight reduction.”

A three-phase response process is being employed in an effort to minimize cost and effort for prospective offerors. The initial phase of the effort calls for a one-page quad chart. If accepted, the charts are followed by sequential phases of white papers and full proposals.

Industry submissions of the first phase chart responses to the new BAA are due no later than Dec. 2, 2011.


Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...