British snipers fulfil a vital and enduring role on the battlefield, in terms of intelligence-gathering, target identification and eliminating high value targets. This year they have been using a new weapon, ‘the best .338 sniper rifle in the world’.
Unveiled earlier this year the L115A3 rifle, part of the Sniper System Improvement Programme (SSIP), is a larger calibre weapon which provides state-of-the-art telescopic day and night all-weather sights, increasing a sniper’s effective range considerably.
The first batch of SSIP systems was deployed to Afghanistan with members of 16 Air Assault Brigade in May 2008 with subsequent deliveries being made to training units across the UK.
Designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600 metres and harassing fire out to 1,100 metres, Accuracy International’s L96 sniper rifle has also been upgraded with a new x3-x12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.
The L115A3 long range rifle fires an 8.59mm bullet which is heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96 and less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.
Other elements of the Sniper System Improvement Programme include night sights, spotting scopes, laser range finders and tripods.