As a presence in several evolving conflicts around the world, Marines must remain up-to-date on the newest technology in order to defeat the enemy and complete the mission at hand.
For the sniper community, that title belongs to the Model 110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System.
"What (Marines) were finding as we got into Iraq and Afghanistan is that the bolt-action M40 sniper rifle we had was not able to rapidly engage targets in a built-up environment," said Capt. Carlos Cuevas, precision weapons team lead, program manager, Product Group 13 (infantry weapons), Marine Corps Systems Command, Headquarters Marine Corps in Quantico, Va. "What they needed was a semi-automatic system to be able to rapidly engage targets."
The Model 110 SASS is the weapon the Corps is fielding to fill this void and Marines from III Marine Expeditionary Force received the new rifle weapons system here Jan. 10. Consequently, the Okinawa-based Marines from 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF were the first to train with the new weapons system, according to Cuevas.
The ever-changing combat environment, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, shaped the specific requirements for the new weapons system, he added.
For example, the required maximum effective range no longer simply meant the maximum range at which the rifle could hit a man-sized target, but the max range at which the rifle could rapidly engage those man-sized targets without limiting accuracy.
The capabilities of the M110 SASS, specifically the ability to rapidly engage targets, complement existing weapon systems currently in use by the Marine Corps and helps add functionality and flexibility to the scout sniper arsenal.
"The M110 SASS is for shorter distances when users experience rapid engagement, where they need to replace the bolt action with a semi-automatic," said a Marine from 3rd Recon Bn. "Since it's a semi-automatic weapon, Marines can conduct rapid engagement on multiple targets." According to Cuevas, the complementing capabilities of the Marine Corps' bolt-action sniper rifle, the M40, and the M110 SASS will serve Marines in the field well but requires a significant amount of learning to maximize the potential benefits.
School-trained Marine snipers are familiar with bolt-action weapons like the M40 most of the time, so getting behind a semi-automatic weapons system will take getting used to, according to Cuevas.
The M110 SASS weapons system is expected to be fielded in Afghanistan in the near future.
"Every scout sniper element will have the M110 capability," said Cuevas. "Units in rotation that are prepping to go to Afghanistan will have this weapon system with them."
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