Heckler & Koch has confirmed that the Army is selecting a modified version of their G28 rifle to be their new compact sniper rifle. The Army has been searching for a new Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or CSASS, since 2012.
The CSASS will be built on the G28 chassis, a designated marksman’s version of the HK417. The rifle is chambered for 7.62 NATO and uses a short-stroke gas piston operation system.
“The HK CSASS rifle is a substantial upgrade over the Army’s current sniper rifles, enhancing accuracy and reliability while providing for a handier, more compact arm,” said Heckler & Koch USA president Wayne Weber, reports the Army Times.
Heckler & Koch will reconfigure the rifle specifically to meet the Army’s requirements. Heckler & Koch has not released all the specific details of the configuration but we know that it has a shorter barrel and collapsible stock to bring the overall length down to 36 inches long. That includes the suppressor which appears to be an OSS design. The scope is a Schmidt & Bender design, although this may not represent the final CSASS configuration.
The other known requirement is for the package to weigh no more than 9 pounds unloaded without accessories. The contract calls for 3,643 rifles starting with an immediate delivery of 30 guns.
The contract is worth up to $44.5 million, or about $12,000 per rifle system. That is for the rifle and all the accessories. The package includes the scope and scope rings, suppressor and muzzle device, match trigger and quick-detachable bipod. Heckler & Koch will also provide spare parts and support as part of the contract.
The Army’s issued their request for a new semi-automatic sniper rifle just 5 years after putting the Knight’s Armament M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, or SASS, into service. The short-lived SASS proved the effectiveness of a medium-range semi-automatic sniper rifle in today’s conflicts.
Unfortunately, rumors of problems hounded the SASS shortly after users began to field the rifle. According to some reports the rifles were subject to wear and began to develop accuracy problems as a result.
The Army selected Heckler & Koch to update their SASS rifles last year. Many saw this as a sign that H&K was locked in for the CSASS contract.
Another reason to move toward the CSASS is that it doesn’t stick out when used within other units. The CSASS is only marginally larger than an M4 carbine, making marksmen harder to target by other marksmen. And of course the lower weight over the SASS is a clear benefit.
“The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) competition was driven by evolving requirements pioneered by KAC products in use by today’s warfighter,” said Knights Armament in a statement. “Government competition drives industry innovation. Industry’s common goal is getting the best product to the warfighter as quickly as possible. Knight’s Armament Company congratulates the winner of the CSASS program.”