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New sniper and anti-materiel weapons for NZDF

Defsec Media, 19 October 2017

Replacement sniper rifle and anti-materiel weapon for infantry and SAS. Image courtesy NZDF.Replacement sniper rifle and anti-materiel weapon for infantry and SAS. Image courtesy NZDF.The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) has announced that it is buying two new weapons, the Barrett M107A1 anti-materiel weapon and the Barrett Multi Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) sniper rifle.

The Sniper Rifle replacement and Anti Material Rifle project is part of the NZDF’s In-Service Weapon Replacement/Upgrade Programme (ISWRUP), which is responsible for upgrading and replacing the NZDF’s small arms fleet.

ISWRUP projects are aimed at enhancing force protection and situational awareness through upgraded sighting and target acquisition systems that are intended to reduce the risk of NZDF personnel being responsible for collateral damage while also increasing the likelihood of defeating identified threats.

According to a 18 October media release, Forty M107A1 and 42 MRAD weapons will be bought, at a cost of NZ$4 million. This cost includes day optics, suppressors and ballistic computer auxiliary equipment to complement a total weapon system.

The 0.50-calibre semi-automatic M107A1 anti-materiel rifle provides a new capability, giving soldiers the ability to identify and engage effectively vehicle or installation targets with precision to 1,500m.

The Barrett MRAD .338 Lapua Magnum has been proven effective to 1,500m. It replaces the current AW 7.62mm calibre sniper rifle, effective to 800m, which has reached the end of its service life.

This new weapon is set to significantly increase the range of NZDF snipers, and with the innovation of new tripods it will increase their ability to shoot in various positions, from prone to standing.

Both weapons will be used by infantry units within the New Zealand Army and the New Zealand SAS, and will be introduced into service from mid-2018.

Chief of Army Major General Peter Kelly said the new weapons would provide soldiers with the latest technology and ensure they would be equipped for any battlefield environment they might encounter.

The MRAD was selected after six weeks of testing of a number of potential rifles at Waiouru, with more than 10,000 rounds fired in a variety of evaluation activities.

The M107A1 was adopted after a sole-source procurement approach following detailed market research and engagement with industry, as well as with ABCA partners on a suitable anti-materiel weapon solution that meets users’ needs.


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