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M107 .50 Caliber Long Range Sniper Rifle (LRSR)
Caliber .50 Sniper Rifle (CFSR)

Program History

The success of the commercial M82 type rifle subsequently prompted the US Army to investigate making such a weapon available and supportable across the entire service. In the mid-1990's, requirements for a new heavy sniper rifle were formalized by the US Army Infantry Center at Fort Benning, Georgia. They were developed in conjunction with snipers from the US Army Special Operations Command and the Army Sniper School. The project manager then began a program to verify through comprehensive technical and operational testing that a technology existed that could satisfy user needs. Supportability and training requirements also were considered.

In August 1996, the US Army stated an interest in acquiring a rifle system capable of delivering long range, precision fire on targets out to a range of 2,000 meters. This Caliber .50 Sniper Rifle (CFSR) system would have to be a man portable, shoulder fired system utilizing military standard .50 caliber ammunition. The primary components of the system were to be a rifle, optical sighting system and carrying cases. Spare parts and logistic support packages would be required as part of any contract action. The selected contractor was also be required to supply depot level maintenance support based within the Continental US (CONUS). Interested vendors were required to submit 4 bid sample systems as part of their proposal submission. These bid samples were used in evaluation testing by the government. Bid samples would be returned in as tested condition. The selected contractor was to able to produce a minimum of 20 systems per month, with a production surge capability to 30 systems per month. The schedule projected release of a competitive Request for Proposal (RFP) in December 1996. Delivery of bid sample hardware was required 100 days after release of the RFP.

The Caliber .50 Sniper Rifle (CFSR) system was to be a direct line of sight system capable of engaging targets out to 1,500 meters (2,000 meters desired); be a rugged and highly reliable system; and minimize both muzzle flash and blast signatures during firing. The CFSR would weigh less than 30 pounds (25 pounds objective) with 5 rounds loaded in the magazine; have durable, corrosion finishes or be constructed from corrosion resistant materials; and be constructed from materials that resist exposure to solvents and cleaners. All external/exposed surfaces would be dull, and non-reflective. The objective external color was tan, gray or black. The CFSR would include a maintenance/cleaning kit containing all operator level repair parts and tools. Operators and maintenance manuals would also be required.

The rifle was required to be highly accurate when firing the Mk 211 Mod 0 multi-purpose round or a ballistic equivalent and be compatible with the existing family of .50 caliber ammunition (Ball, API, API-T). The testing would be conducted using the Mk 211 Mod 0 cartridge or a ballistic equivalent. Bid sample systems were not required to be submitted by the contractors with ammunition. The US government would provide sufficient quantities of ammunition needed for all government testing. It would be able to fire a minimum of 6 rounds/minute (10 rds/min objective); have an adjustable trigger pull; have a detachable box magazine with a minimum capacity of 5 rounds (10 rounds objective); have an easy to operate, positive safety; and have no parts that could be improperly assembled to the detriment of weapon performance.

The rifle was also required to have a minimum barrel life of 1,000 rounds (5,000 rounds objective); be easily disassembled into components, the maximum length of any one being 40 inches (36 inches objective); and come equipped with a sling, detachable sling swivels and bipod. he component carrying case would be capable of storing all system components; and protect system components during hot, cold, rain conditions, transportation and storage. An objective requirement existed for protection to the system during parachute airdrop and subsurface deployment (33 feet threshold, 66 feet objective). A drag bag soft case was also required for man pack infiltration of the system.

The optical sighting system had to provide suitable resolution to allow target identification at the maximum effective range of the system; provide a threaded interface to accept LASER protection; be detachable; and interface with a Picatinny type rail in accordance with MIL-STD-1913. The optical sighting system would have a scaled reticle to aid in range estimation; repeat zero within 1/2 MOA when removed then reinstalled on the weapon; have adjustable windage and elevation controls; and provide sufficient adjustment to compensate for the ballistic drop of the Mk 211 Mod 0 out to the maximum effective range of the system. The optical sighting system would also be designed to remain watertight when submerged in water and come equipped with dust covers; be provided with a hardened carrying case for protection during airborne operations.

No stipulation had been made in the initial requirement as to whether the weapon would be bolt-action or semi-automatic. Barrett submitted their M95, a smaller, lightweight .50 caliber rifle compared to the M82 series, with emphasis on accuracy and durability. The M95's bullpup design resulted in a compact rifle with no sacrifice on accuracy or velocity thanks to its cryogenically treated 29-inch (73.7 centimeter) barrel, the same length as the Model 82A1. Recoil was reduced by the dual-chamber muzzle brake and specially designed recoil pad. The M95 did not feature the M82's recoiling barrel assembly. The weapon weighed 28.5 pounds with optics.

The Barrett M95 was pitted against a number of competitors, including rifles from EDM Arms. EDM Arms produced the Windrunner line of .50 caliber rifles. Barrett was subsequently awarded the contract to supply the new rifle, which was subsequently designated the XM107. The determination was made after the contract award that the US Army actually desired a semi-automatic weapon. Barrett was subsequently contracted to supply a subvariant of the commercial M82A3 rifle then being supplied to the US Marine Corps. The weapon remained designated as the XM107.

The XM107 Long Range Sniper Rifle (LRSR) candidate weapon was Department of the Army approved for Urgent Requirement procurement (without night sight capability) in October 2001. The night sight capability for the XM107 LRSR was to be determined. With an armorer-level modification, the Rail Quick Release System would allow the AN/PVS-10 Sniper Day/Night sight then being used with the M24 Sniper Weapon System to be used with the XM107 LSRS. The cost was $1,180 per set, with a basis of issue plan of each sniper team recieving one Sniper Team Set, which included 2 weapon bases, 2 scope rings/base, and a PVS-10 base for each XM107 LRSR or M24 Sniper Weapon System.

The Army planned to modify the weapon in the future by adding a suppressor to greatly reduce flash, noise and blast signatures. In January 2003, the US Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (TACOM-ARDEC), Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey announced an interest in acquiring information on commercially available or non-developmental item (NDI) suppressors that would reduce the baseline muzzle flash, blast and sound signatures of the Army's XM107 .50 caliber rifle system. Potential contractors had to be able to produce a minimum of 60 systems per month, with a production surge capability to 90 systems per month. The suppressor had to be able to reduce the baseline signatures of the XM107 without adversely affecting or degrading weapon performance/accuracy, functionality, recoil, safety and reliability. It also had to be modular enough to be quickly and easily installed and removed by the operator without requiring the use of special tools not readily available to the operator.

According to a Lessons Learned report from the Program Executive Office Soldier concerning Operation Iraqi Freedom published on 15 May 2003, the Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifle might have been the most useful piece of equipment for the urban fight, especially for US Army light fighters. The XM107 was used to engage both vehicular and personnel targets out to 1,400 meters. Soldiers not only appreciated the range and accuracy but also the target effect. Leaders and scouts viewed the effect of the .50 caliber round as a combat multiplier due to the psychological impact on other combatants that viewed the destruction of the target.

In one instance, a sniper with the 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (commonly referred to as the 325th Parachute Infantry Regiment) reported that his spotter positively identified a target at 1,400 meters carrying an RPG on a water tower. The target was subsequently engaged and the top half of the target's torso reportedly fell forward out of the tower, while the lower portion remained in the tower. There were other personal anecdotes of one round destroying 2 targets and another of the target "disintegrating."

The report also noted that the pervasive negative comment was that snipers felt the issue Leopold Sight was inadequate for the weapon, in that it was not ballistically matched. If the sight was zeroed for 500, 1000 and 1,500 meters, soldiers did not feel confident in their ability to engage targets at the "between" distances (e.g. 1,300 meters). Snipers felt there were better sights available for the weapon such as the Swarovski. Sniper team spotters felt the tripod for the Leopold Spotter Scope could also be better designed. Colonel Bray, the Commander of 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division supported an Operational Needs Statement for a Sniper Sight that would allow the sniper to identify targets as combatants or non-combatants out to 2000 meters.

The XM107 was type classified as the M107 in August 2003. The M107 had been funded as a Soldier Enhancement Program to type classify a semi-automatic .50 caliber rifle for the Army and other military services. A production contract was awarded to Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. of Murfreesboro, Tennessee in September 2003. The M107 Long Range Sniper Rifle (LRSR) was a Category I weapon being fielded to infantry snipers, with 700 in service as of FY03. The Category II M82A1 series also remained in service in the US Army and in other services.

Two Picatinny organizations, PM Soldier Weapons and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, teamed up to buy, test and field the M107 system to US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In November 2004, Picatinny continued to field the M107 in both of those countries. By the end of 2004, the Picatinny team expected to issue more than 700 of the new systems to deployed Soldiers. Production and fielding were scheduled through 2007.

In March 2005, the Army approved its new long-range .50 caliber sniper rifle, the M107, for full materiel release to Soldiers in the field. The term "full materiel release" signifief that the Army had rigorously tested and evaluated the item and determined that it was completely safe, operationally suitable and logistically supportable for use by soldiers.

The M107 program was managed by the Project Manager Soldier Weapons, with engineering support provided by Picatinny's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center. Product Manager for Crew Served Weapons had previously equipped combat units in Afghanistan and Iraq with the M107 under an urgent materiel release, as well as other units supporting the Global War on Terrorism (later referred to as Overseas Contingency Operations). The Army expected to complete fielding of the M107 in 2008.




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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:44:51 ZULU