The Army has released photos of soldiers testing a next-generation thermal sniper rifle optic that will purportedly triple the range of existing options.
The Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier in late February tweeted out photos of a “sneak peek” at the service’s new Family of Weapon Sights-Sniper (FWS-S) affixed to the top of M107 and M2010 Enhanced Sniper Rifle systems.
The Army confirmed to Task & Purpose that the photos were the first publicly-released images of the FWS-S in action.
“FWS-S is currently in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) Phase of Acquisition,” PEO Soldiers spokesman Justin Sweet said. “The Army has not released any public information concerning FWS-S fielding since the systems are still developmental.”
The FWS-S thermal sensor, which is designed to provide snipers with thermal imagery in all weather conditions, “extends lethality for snipers to 1,800 meters, three times longer than the 600-meter capability provided by an image intensified system,” according to the Army.
Designed to mount in-line with a sniper’s day optic on the M107, M2010, and M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System and Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, the service calls the FWS-S “the first clip-on thermal weapon sight specifically developed and fielded by the Army for the sniper community.”
While the FWS-S has been in the EMD phase of the acquisition process for five years, the new photos of the system flexing its muscles on the range comes amid a sweeping revamp of the Army’s sniper capabilities.
In January, the service announced that it was officially moving to purchase several thousand next-generation sniper rifles — the much-hyped Multi-Role Adaptive Design rifle from Barrett — to field to snipers and EOD personnel over the next five years.
The MRAD, which comes chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum with the help of a conversion kit, will eventually replace both the M107 and M2010 in the Army’s arsenal through the Precision Sniper Rifle program.
The Army previously planned on fielding the MRAD as its PSR starting in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021. According to officials, the service plans on securing a five-year contract for the rifles sometime “this spring.”
According to the Army, the new FWS-S will also affix to the top of the MRAD once it’s adopted under the PSR program, although service officials did not offer a target fielding date for the FWS-S when queried by Task & Purpose.