Snipers have become critical assets in the current wars, and enemies who routinely use human shields have changed their profession from a group that was stigmatized even in their own armies, to widely appreciated specialists. In Afghanistan, the rifles’ 7.62mm or heavier calibers, and long range in an environment that routinely sees engagements beyond 300 meters, makes snipers very desirable in regular engagements, as well as special missions.
Remington Arms Company Inc. in Ilion, NY recently received an $8.9 million firm-fixed-price contract from the Afghan government for M24 sniper rifles (and see weapon review), with bipods for stable shooting. Work will be performed in Ilion, NY, and is expected to be complete by Sept 30/14. One bid was solicited with one bid received by the U.S. Army TACOM LCMC in Rock Island, IL (W56HZV-11-D-0049).
Sniper rifles are tracked more closely than other weapons, and American forces in Iraq and beyond have consistently pushed for general weapon tracking programs that allow tight monitoring of access and use. One hopes this is enough to avoid having this order end up as a de facto delivery to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, for use in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The $382 billion F-35 Joint Strike fighter program may well be the largest single global defense program in history. This major multinational program is intended to produce an “affordably stealthy” multi-role fighter that will have 3 variants: the F-35A conventional version for the US Air Force et. al.; the F-35B Short Take-Off, Vertical Landing for the US Marines, British Royal Navy, et. al.; and the F-35C conventional carrier-launched version for the US Navy. The aircraft is named after Lockheed’s famous WW2 P-38 Lightning, and the Mach 2, stacked-engine English Electric (now BAE)Lightning jet. Lightning II system development partners included The USA & Britain (Tier 1), Italy and the Netherlands (Tier 2), and Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey (Tier 3), with Singapore and Israel as “Security Cooperation Partners.” Now the challenge is agreeing on production phase membership and arrangements, to be followed by initial purchase commitments in 2009-2010.
This updated article has expanded to feature more detail regarding the F-35 program, including contracts, sub-contracts, and notable events and reports. Recent events and major programs shifts have been added to this article, in order to ensure maximum continuity and context. 2012 developments are covered in this follow-up article.