The M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) (Heckler and Koch)
A handful of lucky Army units apparently picked up an early Christmas present this fall: A shiny new rifle for designated marksmen assigned to infantry, scout, and engineer squads.
A Dec. 27 update from Army Futures Command revealed that the Army has fielded the 7.62x51mm G28E-110 squad designated marksman rifle — adopted as the M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) back in 2017 — as planned to selected units stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Based on the Heckler & Koch HK417 platform, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act fully-funded the Army's proposed $46.2 million acquisition of 5,180 CSASS rifles with the eventual goal of buying as many as 8,711 of the lightweight 7.62mm systems.
Rather than traveling in two-man sniper teams, designated marksmen provide precision fire support as part of an infantry unit. As the War Zone notes, the first 120 CSASS rifles have already ended up in the hands of 82nd Airborne units, among others, starting in September 2018.
"The Army's current rifle technology is most effective below the 300-meter range," Capt. Weston Goodrich, assistant program manager for Soldier Weapons, PEO Soldier, stated back in June. "The new rifle addresses the 300 to 600 meters range gap outlined in the 2015 U.S. Army Small Arms Capabilities-Based Assessment."
But soldiers at Fort Bliss aren't just getting a new lightweight rifle to play with. According to the Army Futures Command announcement, the CSASS is being fielded concurrently with the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular that PEO Soldier wants to get into warfighter's hands by early 2019.
During testing, soldier outfitted with the CSASS and ENVG saw "a 100 percent improvement in weapons qualifications, along with a 300 percent increase in detection of targets in day and night environments, and a 30 to 50 percent decrease in the time taken to shoot a target," per Army Futures Command — just the boost in lethality Pentagon officials have been harping on all year.
Time will tell if the Marine Corps follows the Army's lead: While the service's $40.8 billion proposed fiscal 2019 budget included just under $1 million for the service to procure just 116 CSASS rifles for testing replace the venerable M110, the service confirmed in early April that its snipers would get the Mk13 Mod 7 sniper rifle to replace the M40 rifle they've been lugging since the Vietnam War.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to modify its electronic systems and lacked an accountable official to oversee implementation of the "Forever GI Bill," resulting in a bungled rollout last year that affected thousands of college students, a new report from the agency's Inspector General says.
In the early morning hours of March 15, Riley Schultz, a 19-year-old Marine from Longmont, California, was found at his guard post in Camp Pendleton, San Diego with an apparent gunshot wound to the head. Less than 30 minutes later he was pronounced dead.
Ricardo Delano Whitehead, third from left, was honored by Live Oak officials and the Sutter County Sheriff's Office at Wednesday's City Council meeting for intervening in an attack last month. (Courtesy Sutter County Sheriff's Office)
Ricardo Delano Whitehead isn't your average 69-year-old. Despite being just a few weeks shy of 70, the U.S. Army veteran still practices martial arts. In his younger years, he even taught it to an Army battalion at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
On Feb. 13, Whitehead happened upon a man he saw tackle a woman before repeatedly punching her in the doorway of a Live Oak, California business. Whitehead yelled at the suspect to leave the woman alone, at which point the other man turned his attention on the veteran.