The Marine Corps Wants A Piece Of The Army’s Lethal New Sniper Rifle

Gear
The Heckler & Koch M110A1 7.62mm semi-automatic sniper rifle selected for the Army’s Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) program on display at AUSA on Oct. 11, 2017.
Heckler & Koch

The Marine Corps may finally adopt a new sniper rifle through a stroke of luck: Army officials, continuing to develop their own brand-new sniper rifle, told Task & Purpose that both the Marines and Air Force “are committed” to purchasing the weapon once the Army signs off on the improved system.


Despite the budget turmoil currently rankling lawmakers and Department of Defense planners, the Army is moving ahead with the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS), PEO Soldier spokeswoman Debi Dawson confirmed to Task & Purpose on Jan. 24, adding that “all [CSASS’s] sniper performance requirements and capabilities are still valid.” (Marine Corps Systems Command did not immediately respond to request for comment.)

The CSASS program was established in 2015 to field a replacement for the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System. In August 2016, Heckler & Koch ended the Army’s search, winning a $44.5 million contract for a lightweight version of its 7.62 mm G28E sniper rifle with a baffle-less OSS suppressor.

The CSASS program has persisted despite the ever-present specter of cancellation. Last fall, the Army scrapped its 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle (ICSR) program just over a month after its first solicitation — a victim of shortfalls and budget uncertainties that have become a fixture of the military landscape as Congress funds the DoD with a patchwork of continuing resolutions. But when the ICSR went away, PEO Soldier reassured Task & Purpose that the CSASS program would not meet the same fate.

Heckler & Koch

The Heckler & Koch M110A1 7.62mm semi-automatic sniper rifle selected for the Army’s Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) program on display at AUSA on Oct. 11, 2017.

The adoption of the CSASS by the Marine Corps would be a major coup for the service. The Marines have struggled to adopt a much-needed replacement for the M110 and M40A5 — the latest variant on the Vietnam-era pattern that fielded to Marines during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The service’s delay has reportedly stoked frustration among scout snipers, who complain of their rifles’ limited range and light-caliber ammo.

It’s unclear if adopting CSASS will actually allay the frustrations of the Corps’ scout snipers. Marine snipers wielding the M40A5 are accurate at a distance of up to 1,000 meters, according to Military.com. The HK G28 selected for the CSASS can only provide accurate fire at up to 600 meters.

Related: Up Close And Personal With The Army’s Lethal New Sniper Rifle »

Should the Corps end up adopting the CSASS, it’s unclear where exactly the sniper system will fit in a platoon’s arsenal. Digital gun encyclopedia Modern Firearms suggests that the CSASS is best used “as a support weapon at squad level during foot patrols.” But as recently as December, the Corps was testing a variant of the much-loved M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle for potential use in a squad designated marksman role, even though the CSASS has an extra 50 to 100 meters in range on the IAR.

All of this may be moot if the Army somehow bungles the CSASS acquisition. Though Dawson stated last September that the CSASS “has encountered no [budgetary or political] obstacles,” she told Task & Purpose today that the branch “has not yet identified production funding” for the CSASS. Whether the Marines and Air Force actually get their hands on the new sniper system depends entirely on the Army — and, in turn, whether lawmakers get their shit together enough to give U.S. troops downrange the tools their need to get the job done.

WATCH NEXT:

"Shoots like a carbine, holsters like a pistol." That's the pitch behind the new Flux Defense system designed to transform the Army's brand new sidearm into a personal defense weapon.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Army recruits practice patrol tactics while marching during U.S. Army basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C., Dec. 6, 2006. (U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Shawn Weismiller)

An 18-year-old Army recruit at Fort Jackson died following a "medical emergency" before a training drill, according to an officials with the base.

Read More Show Less
Lance Cpl. Job Wallace (Facebook)

A Camp Pendleton Marine who was believed to be headed back to the base from Arizona on Monday, but never arrived, was found safe in Texas Saturday night, military officials said.

Read More Show Less
Guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63) Sailors participate in a memorial for the shipÕs namesake, Robert D. Stethem. Navy diver, Steelworker 2nd Class Robert Stethem, who was returning from an assignment in the Middle East, when he was taken hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. The flight was hijacked by terrorists, and Stethem was shot to death after being tortured by the terrorists on June 15, 1985. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Danny Ewing Jr.)

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.

A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.

Read More Show Less

The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.

Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."

That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.

Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.

Read More Show Less