U.S. navy particular operations forces are set to get new bolt-action Barrett Multi-Position Adaptive Design sniper rifles, or MRADs, which operators can readily reconfigure to fireplace any of three completely different calibers relying on the mission necessities. The brand new weapons will assist U.S. Particular Operations Command streamline its sniper rifle inventories and increase its capabilities, however comes lower than six years after a earlier contract for completely completely different weapons that was supposed to fulfill most of the identical fundamental targets.
The Pentagon first introduced Barrett had obtained the contract for Superior Sniper Rifles (ASR), with an estimated worth of as much as virtually $50 million over 5 years, in its each day contracting announcement on Mar. 11, 2019. The Tennessee-headquartered gunmaker subsequently confirmed it had gotten the deal and that the MRAD was the weapon in query in a press launch posted on Mar. 12, 2019.
“The USA Division of Protection introduced right this moment that Barrett has been chosen to offer their MRAD because the U.S. Particular Operations Command Superior Sniper Rifle system, designated as Mk 21,” the corporate's assertion mentioned. “This marks the primary time in historical past father and son have had rifle designs adopted by the US navy: Ronnie Barrett with M107 and Chris Barrett with Mk 21.”
Barrett is greatest identified for its iconic .50 caliber M82 and M107 rifles, which have been in service throughout the U.S. navy because the 1980s. The corporate now makes quite a lot of bolt-action, semi-automatic, and select-fire rifles, together with its personal derivatives of the ever-present AR-15/M16 household, in addition to belt-fed machine weapons.
It isn't clear from Barrett’s assertion or from the Pentagon announcement what the precise configuration of the Mk 21 model of the MRAD might be. Since unveiling the rifle publicly in 2010, the corporate has supplied it with quite a lot of completely different barrels, ranging in size from 20 to 27 inches. All of those can settle for numerous completely different muzzle gadgets, together with people who work with quick-detach suppressors.
U.S. Particular Operations Command (SOCOM) has solely launched restricted particulars about its necessities for the ASR since publicly asserting this system in late 2017. The principle requirement was for a person to have the ability to quickly and simply swap out a restricted variety of elements so as to convert the rifle to fireplace any certainly one of three calibers – 7.62x51mm NATO, .300 Norma Magnum, and .338 Norma Magnum – as needed. This eliminates the necessity for separate weapons to fireplace every of those rounds, providing particular operations models added operational flexibility and decreasing pressure on the logistics and upkeep chains.
An MRAD rifle in certainly one of its many configurations.
SOCOM additionally mentioned that it needed the rifles particularly to present snipers the power to focus on opponents at ranges past 1,640 yards. The .300 and .338 Norma Magnum cartridges will assist shut the vary hole between current bolt-action sniper rifles in 7.62x51mm and .300 Winchester Magnum and bigger .50 caliber anti-materiel rifles, resembling Barrett’s personal M107.
The ASR is primarily slated to switch the remaining variants of the Mk 13 rifle household, that are derivatives of the Remington 700 in .300 Winchester Magnum. With the ability to use older shares of seven.62x51mm ammunition would permit snipers to readily use the rifles for low-cost coaching at shorter ranges.
A Marine Corps sniper holds a Mk 13 Mod 7 rifle. This service is within the strategy of changing its M40A6 rifles with these weapons, which have been the first arm of SOCOM snipers for years now.
The MRAD definitely meets SOCOM's necessities. As its identify implies, Barrett designed it from the outset to have the ability to accommodate all kinds of various ammunition varieties. The corporate presently presents it commercially in any of eight completely different calibers, together with the three SOCOM requested.
In February 2019, Barrett received a separate contract from the U.S. Division of Protection for MRADs in a fourth caliber, .300 Precision Rifle Cartridge (PRC). It stays unclear who will obtain these rifles, however this buy seems to be completely unrelated to SOCOM’s ASR program.
The MRAD's modular “adaptive” design additionally permits for the speedy elimination of the set off meeting for simple cleansing or alternative with one other module altogether. This streamlines upkeep and likewise signifies that an armorer may set up set off packs with completely different traits, resembling modifications within the weight or size of the set off pull, which higher meet a shooter’s preferences or their mission necessities. The MRAD additionally has an adjunct rail operating the complete size of the highest of the rifle, in addition to extra accent attachment factors on the facet, for day and evening imaginative and prescient optics, thermal imagers, and different equipment.
However the buy of the Barrett rifles raises questions on efficiency, or lack thereof, of rifles that SOCOM started buying in 2013 beneath an earlier program often called the Precision Sniper Rifle (PSR). That effort started 4 years earlier and known as for a rifle that would precisely interact targets between 330 and 1,640 yards and will swap rapidly between 7.62x51mm, .300 Winchester Magnum, and .338 Lapua Magnum.
Remington received this competitors with their Modular Sniper Rifle (MSR), a spinoff of the 7.62x51mm M2010 sniper rifle the corporate had developed for the U.S. Military. Among the many rifles that misplaced out was the MRAD, which Barrett had initially developed particularly for the competitors.
Remington's MSR rifle
On the time, SOCOM confusingly introduced that Remington’s rifle would even be designated the Mk 21. Although not exceptional, this can be very uncommon for 2 utterly distinct rifles to share the identical base designation.
The PSR contract was additionally supposed to incorporate work via 2023, however there was little or no dialogue in regards to the introduction and use of those rifles since Remington received the deal. In 2015, SOCOM virtually zeroed out the fifth supply order – chopping greater than $four.eight million from the choice, which was initially price lower than $5.1 million – with out providing a public clarification. There have been no different contract actions regarding the PSR deal since then, in keeping with the Federal Procurement Knowledge System.
In 2018, U.S. Military Lieutenant Colonel Mark Owens, the Program Supervisor for Ammo and Weapons inside SOCOM’s Program Government Workplace for Particular Operations Forces Warrior, made no point out of the PSR program by any means in a briefing he gave on the Nationwide Protection Business Affiliation’s annual Particular Operations Forces Business Convention. The identical presentation mentioned that particular operations forces would proceed to make use of the prevailing Mk 13 rifles till they received phased out in favor of the brand new ASRs.
This slide from US Military Lieutenant Colonel Mark Owens' 2018 briefing makes no point out of the PSR program in any respect.
So, it stays to be seen whether or not the brand new Barrett Mk 21 rifles will complement or outright exchange the Remington Mk 21s. Relying on how most of the latter rifles SOCOM truly accepted supply of as half the PSR program, it could be straightforward for the brand new ASRs to supplant them completely.
Regardless of the case, the Barrett rifles will certainly give particular operators extra choices and the power to interact targets out to longer ranges and with better precision over their older Mk 13 rifles.
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