Small weaponsuch as this Galil sniper rifle, is being developed to meet modern needs, including increasing the level of modularity
In order to meet the new requirements of operational theaters, the developers of sniper rifles focused on several main areas, including the modularity of weapon systems, so that the shooters of all categories could hit their targets with a single shot.
Certainly and obviously, the customers' appetites for modularity are rising on the rifle market. According to Darryl Miller, director of the North American direction in the Cadex Defense sniper rifle company, this fashionable and relevant topic today can be divided into two areas. First, the ability to change the caliber depending on the distance that the ammunition must fly, or the target that it must penetrate, for example, a large caliber can be used to shoot through the glass or at a vehicle. Such a requirement can be seen in a number of large programs, for example, the requirement of the US Special Operations Command for an Advanced Advanced Sniper Rife (ASR) sniper rifle chambered for NATO 7,62 mm, .300 Norma Magnum (NM) and .338 NM.
The new rifle CDX-MC Kraken from the company Cadex (photo below) is designed to meet this requirement. “You can change the caliber based on the ammunition and the type of target you need to neutralize, or you think you can neutralize,” Miller said. “The weapon has a detachable base and several shops, allowing the shooter to change the size of the magazine based on the required cartridge.”
The second main direction of increasing the level of modularity in addition to the caliber is the weapon itself. The ability to adjust the butt cheek or shoulder rest of the butt, for example, and the ability to mount various types of optics and laser range finders.
Although military personnel may have the same level of training, it is obvious that they are of different sizes and “therefore they fire at different levels anyway,” Miller explained. “The ability to have modularity so that the weapon matches your preferences as an experienced shooter, fits under you, is one of the most important things you have.” As an example, he cited his CDX-30 Guardian Lite rifle, which was designed from the very beginning with a high level of modularity so that it could be fitted with a wide variety of accessories and accessories.
Not one caliber
The idea behind these multi-caliber rifles is to “provide a platform that can solve several problems at once,” said Jason John, a spokesman for Remington Defense, a company that produces small arms, including the Modular Sniper Rifle sniper rifle.
“Instead of a gun room full of different rifles, you now have one rifle. You have everything from fighting with living power to the destruction of material objects, he explained. “Indeed, the Ministry of Defense is moving in this direction with its sniper rifles, seeking to rationalize weapons systems and give the end user the opportunity to configure them for themselves.”
The Remington's M2010 rifle was conceived from the outset as a modular system, ”says John. The rifle, which is a further development of the M24 model, uses an aluminum chassis, not fiberglass or plastic, this allows you to install a wide variety of accessories. ”
The M2010 sniper rifle, developed by Remington M2010 for the US Army, is designed to replace the M24 sniper rifle
“М2010 has significantly more opportunities, both from functional and operational points of view, because it allows you to install different types of optics. Therefore, whether these are improvements in the field of brightness enhancement, thermal vision, etc., the rifle chassis is configured so that you can install additional accessories and thereby enhance the capabilities and characteristics of this sniper rifle. ”
A representative of Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) also pointed out the importance of modularity. The ability to easily customize a rifle for various tasks and combat conditions is in high demand among modern users. For its part, IWI offers a number of products, including sniper rifles with a rotary longitudinal sliding bolt Dan .338 Bolt Action Sniper Rifle and Galil Sniper SA “Sniper rifles should now be flexible and multi-caliber. This allows you to adapt weapons for different tasks and at the same time reduce the cost and the need to carry more than one system. ”
In the technology of sniper rifles, energy and weight and size requirements are of great importance. It’s important to find “a middle ground between mass and ease of handling,” Miller said. “On the one hand, carrying heavy weapons will quickly tire the operator, therefore, the easier you can make a rifle for him, the better he will be able to carry out his combat missions.” On the other hand, a very light weapon can negatively affect recoil; it is more controllable in a heavy weapon, since there is less impact on the shooter himself. ”
There are several ways to reduce weight. The most obvious way is to lighten the chassis as much as possible “by placing the grooves in certain places, which will help to lose weight while maintaining their characteristics. But we cannot take out too much, because we will lower the strength characteristics of the weapon, which can lead to sad consequences on the battlefield. ”
He pointed to another important element, the transverse ribs for cooling the barrel, since "this not only reduces the mass of the barrel, but also increases its strength ... and allows for more intense heat dissipation." Finally, Miller noted that the use of aluminum in rifles is also another advantage, as compared with other materials, it has less density (as a result, weight) and an increased service life.
Accessories, such as extended-range thermal sights, greatly enhance the combat capabilities of the shooter
Many of the innovations in rifle technology over the past decade have been associated with accessories that are mounted on the weapon itself, especially for optics. Night vision systems and laser range finders were intensively developed, and many types of reticle for sights were developed.
In addition, the user can customize the components of the weapon, for example, a podshchechnuyu extension, without using any tools. According to the director of Accuracy International, Tom Irwin, "There was a departure from the tools for adjusting and adjusting the rifle for a specific person." The main offer of this company in the defense market is the family of AH rifles, the production of the newest member of which, the AXMC multi-caliber rifle (photo below), will begin next year.
Regarding accessories, a representative of IWI noted that the main direction of development is the integration and combination of technologies in integrated systems, which expands the range of types of combat missions and operational options.
“Rifle sights are currently being integrated with electronic systems, which allows us to obtain advanced functionality, for example, automatic introduction of ballistic corrections,” said a company representative. “Another improvement is the automation of optical devices, which allows soldiers to work quickly and easily, simplifies the use of weapons and their accessories.”
A representative of FN Herstal, which supplies the US Special Operations Command, MK20 Sniper Support Rifle sniper rifles, a modification of the FN SCAR-H Tactical Precision Rifle high-precision rifle, noted similar trends. “Sighting systems that can collect data, make calculations, and make corrections that affect the trajectory of a bullet are the main requirement. If with a number of factors, such as range, temperature and angle of inclination, it is possible to cope with the help of existing technologies, the wind remains the main problem. ”
Miller noted that optical systems are becoming more user-friendly, "allowing the arrow to be more accurate." High-precision, technically advanced sighting system can make corrections, thereby contributing to an increase in shooting accuracy. However, the weapon itself must be able to perform its tasks as efficiently as possible.
“There is a fine line, sights can improve the accuracy of firing, But if a weapon cannot shoot normally, then nothing will help,” Miller said. “The rifle must be an accurate weapon system, since the bullet must hit the target.” You can catch the target exactly at the crosshairs, but you must also deliver the bullet to the target. ”
“Sniper rifles are essentially the same as they were in 50's,” said Trey Knight, director of the Knight's Armament Company. A number of important innovations have been introduced, for example, standardized ammunition or a modular principle for multi-caliber weapons have been developed. However, if the materials and coatings are technologically quite advanced, the weapon itself is in many respects the same as a few decades ago.
“What has really changed is the sights, laser rangefinders, the rest of optoelectronics and accessories that are mounted on the weapon; they really improved their characteristics and capabilities, ”said Knight. “You can take an old weapon from the fifties, equip it with these new systems and optoelectronics, and then it’s realistic in terms of performance that it will almost catch up with modern rifles.”
Knight company offers several models of sniper rifles for the military market, in particular the models M110 and M110KZ. The company also produces a number of related products, for example, DSR (direct signature reduction) silencers and Knight Vision sights.
Manufacturers are constantly improving and developing new types of ammunition, which further enhances the capabilities of rifles, for example, this model М110КЗ
The evolution of ammunition
The company Knight calls ammunition one of the main directions for further development. The development of the M118 Long-Range (LR) cartridge became a landmark for semi-automatic rifles, as it marked the appearance of a high-precision cartridge that was created specifically for such weapons, which allowed companies like Knight to “achieve extreme weapon reliability”.
“The standardized cartridge in the M118 LR really allowed to increase reliability and fully focus on the requirements for the characteristics and size of weapons. This is a huge step forward for us. ”
Confirming that ammunition is constantly being improved, Irwin noted that the .338 cartridge has been significantly improved in recent years. “Its development continues, it becomes more and more accurate. Over the years, the .338 cartridge has been significantly improved. ”
Knight stressed that there will not be good progress in any weapon system, be it a rifle or other types, until there is a further development of ammunition. A lot of work has been done on such products as the cartridge М855А1 5.56x45 mm, which has improved ballistic characteristics on the final part of the trajectory. "With regard to the sniper case, the idea was to improve the ballistic coefficients, so that the bullet was more accurate at large distances."
This may require an actual change of caliber, which will create problems from a logistics point of view, since in NATO countries 7,62-mm caliber cartridges are standard. "The change of caliber will create a big logistic problem, but if you are looking forоIf you can do anything with the weapon, you can do little, ”he explained. “We need to take a closer look at the ammunition.”
In perspective, Knight expects to see a further increase in ballistic performance, even if completely new calibers are not developed. This will mean “adopting more effective ammunition that will have a lower reduction and a better trajectory onоmore distances. In addition, the ballistic characteristics in the final part of the trajectory are more likely to be improved for larger distances with less wind and other external factors.
FLIR Systems is a specialist in the field of sniper weapons and reconnaissance systems, and is particularly known for its thermal imaging and image-enhancing systems. For the military, the company produces the HISS-XLR thermal sight and the MilSight MUNS (Magnum Universal Night Sight) night sight. As FLIR Surveillance spokesman Adam Deangelis said, soldiers put forward a number of specific requirements, for example, “the range of systems must be maximized, they must detect / identify / capture targets at ranges equal or greater than the range of the weapon itself”. In addition, there is a need to hold the line of sight, as well as in devices capable of working on weapons of caliber up to 12,7 mm and having minimal weight and energy-consuming characteristics.
Deanzhelis noted that in recent years, these characteristics have improved significantly, the resolution of sensors and displays has increased, their range has increased. “Most likely, the trend in the coming years will be an increase in the range of action as a result of an increase in sensor performance. There will also be a reduction in weight and size and energy-consuming characteristics. ”
Another new and highly demanded feature is the ability to combine images from various sensors. FLIR ADUNS-S refers to such devices, it combines an image with a thermal imager and a night vision device, which allows the operator to work in a wider range of environmental conditions and lighting.
FLIR ADUNS-S Advanced Dual-Mode Night Sight Compatible with Standard Sights
Sights with increased image brightness based on white phosphor are in great demand. The black-and-white image provided by them "is of interest to many users, because it seems more vital and natural than the green picture." Deanzhelis said that the characteristics of images based on white phosphor are not inferior in quality to their counterparts on the basis of green phosphor.
Finally, Deangelis noted that “Some military customers use Bluetooth wireless technology to upload images and videos, as well as download software to upgrade platforms. However, it is necessary to carefully adjust the power and distance of transmission via Bluetooth, so as not to compromise the owner of the device. ”
Knight also highlighted the continuing need to improve the weight and size and energy-consuming characteristics. “We are constantly striving to reduce the mass of our products, actively using new materials. It is very important to maximally facilitate the weapon itself, since after it begins to install all these heavy accessories and sights, it becomes harder and harder. Therefore, it is important to start with a lighter weapon. It is also important to reduce the weight of the accessories themselves. ”
As for accessories and additional devices, Knight believes that the weight of the optics will decrease first of all. “The manufacturers of scopes could reduce their size, now they are not as large as the optics of previous generations. Although the dimensions are reduced, however, good performance is maintained, even at high magnification. ”
Optics will continue to evolve and “perhaps it can provide the shooter with not only information in range and environmental conditions, but also a full-fledged communication channel between the spotter and the shooter,” said Mr. John, a representative of Remington Defense. In the long run, small optical instruments will calculate the range, issue data in the wind and perform ballistic calculations and perform other necessary actions. “I have no choice but to press a button. The crosshair will tell me where to aim, I will not even have to think about it. ”
Over the past 15 years, radical changes have taken place. “Technological progress has significantly simplified the work of the sniper. The art of shooting turns into the art of predicting the unpredictable. The more unpredictable factors you take into account, the higher the likelihood of your success. ”
Take, for example, a laser rangefinder. “Knowing the exact distance to the target and higher levels of forecasting increase the hit rate,” said John. - Similarly, ballistic calculations not only increased the probability of hitting the target, but also made it possible to increase the distance at which you can hit the target. The reticle also allows more precise determination of the aiming point. ”
“You can more accurately predict the outcome based on your external conditions,” John concluded. - You are given all the information on environmental conditions, weather, time, etc., the exact distance to the goal, which you could not have before. Your equation of fire becomes simpler, you move to a higher level of predictability and, as a result, a higher probability of neutralizing the target. ”