New rifle provides UK troops with an improved lethal capability on the battlefield.
Rifle more discreet through sight and hearing signature reduction.
Up to 10,000 weapons could be procured over the next 10 years.
British troops will soon be more lethal on the battlefield, as a new £90 million contract delivers modern, high precision rifles.
The Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) system – known as the L403A1 and procured by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) under Project HUNTER – is made up of a new assault rifle fitted with a muzzle signature reduction system and an improved optical sighting system.
The AIW is a modern rifle using the latest in design technology and manufacturing methods, to produce an exceptionally reliable and accurate weapon. The magnified optic means the user is able to engage threats from greater distances; whilst the signature reduction system works to mask the AIW from detection from sight and hearing.
Supplementing the current in-service L85A3, the AIW system has been secured under a £90 million contract with Macclesfield-based company Edgar Brothers, supporting the Prime Minister’s priority to grow the economy by helping sustain approximately 50 jobs at the family-owned company.
Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said:
This is another example of how we are committed to investing in the most advanced battlefield equipment to back our troops on the battlefield. This advanced rifle’s ability to help soldiers maintain the stealth edge not only protects them but delivers war-fighting advantage over our adversaries.
An initial £15 million order of 1,620 AIW systems has been placed, with options to procure up to 10,000 systems – totalling £90 million – under the contract over the next decade. The systems will initially be fielded to the Army Special Operations Brigade (ASOB) who operate in complex, high threat environments.
Lt Col Stuart Crawford is a defence analyst and former army officer. Sign up for his podcasts and newsletters at www.DefenceReview.uk
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