Monday, September 24, 2018
Military News

SOCom asking rifle makers for single weapon to serve many sniper roles

When Ryan Cleckner was an Army Ranger sniper in Afghanistan, he had as many as nine rifles he would use in different situations.

But whenever a mission would evolve quickly, he would have to choose which ones to lug onto a helicopter. Even narrowing them down to the simplest options — one rifle for long distance, one for shorter — meant carrying a lot of weight.

"I’d have to decide which two rifles to bring," said Cleckner, 38, now a sniper instructor and author living in Nashville. "Here I am, running on to the helicopter with two giant gun cases, with two rifles, different magazines, different ammo and different spare parts."

Years later, U.S. Special Operations Command is working to address that concern.

The command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, is looking for gunmakers who can produce a single sniper weapon that can fire three different rounds.

SOCom, which is responsible for providing special operations goods and services to military troops, has put out a call to small businesses for what it has dubbed the "Advanced Sniper Rifle." The command is looking for a bolt-action gun that fires a 7.62?x?51 NATO round, a .300 Norma Magnum and a .338 Norma Magnum by using three different barrels that can be changed by commandos in the field.

Cleckner, author of Long Range Shooting Handbook, said SOCom’s concept has several advantages for snipers.

A gun that fires three different rounds means less weight for a sniper to drag around. The 7.62 rounds are better for shorter distances and are in much greater supply, while the two Magnum rounds have more energy and are better at longer distances. Even though the barrels are the heaviest part of the gun, each gun requires magazines and spare parts that can weigh even more, Cleckner said.

Having three barrels in one gun also helps snipers become more proficient, Cleckner said, enabling them to spend more time training on a single weapon with a single action instead of having to get used to the action on different weapons.

"I had nine guns issued to me as a sniper when I was in, and that was one of my bigger complaints," Cleckner said. "It sort of caused someone to be a jack of all trades instead of a master of one."

Cleckner is a former vice president at Remington Defense, which produced the XM2010, a sniper rifle used by commandos.

Commando snipers serve a number of roles for a commander in the field, firing directly at targets, gathering intelligence and keeping an eye on friendly forces, Cleckner said.

SOCom officials put out an advanced solicitation calling for ideas from those small-business owners with the capacity to fulfill their request. Those interested have until 4 p.m. Friday to register for an industry event next month, at which they can pitch their weapons at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Crane, Ind.

SOCom officials will review performance specifications and test equipment there and discuss the solicitation time line. This will help the command develop a more focused solicitation.

Cleckner, who served under both SOCom commander Gen. Raymond A. "Tony" Thomas III and U.S. Central Command head Gen. Joseph Votel, has a word of advice for SOCom.

While the Norma Magnum rounds are currently the best available, things change. The command, he said, should chose a weapon and stick with it for a while.

"There will always be something better that comes along," Cleckner said. "It’s not wise to jump and race to that."

Contact Howard Altman at [email protected] or
(813) 225-3112. Follow @haltman.

Comments
Sunk by torpedo a century ago, USS Tampa left a legacy of protection

Sunk by torpedo a century ago, USS Tampa left a legacy of protection

As dusk was settling in over the Irish sea, a German submarine spotted a lone ship steaming toward England’s Bristol Channel. The U-boat dived to attack. About half an hour later, it fired a single torpedo. In his battle notes, the commander,...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/22/18
Howard Altman: Tampa World War II veteran turning 100 recalls guarding prisoners then celebs

Howard Altman: Tampa World War II veteran turning 100 recalls guarding prisoners then celebs

Frank Sorbera was a band boy for the Russ Morgan Orchestra, lugging equipment and driving vehicles, all the while hoping to one day join the big band outfit as a singer.But it was 1944, World War II was grinding on and Uncle Sam had other plans for t...
Published: 09/13/18
Updated: 09/14/18
Saved by a hunk of marble, Trinity man recalls harrowing escape from World Trade Center

Saved by a hunk of marble, Trinity man recalls harrowing escape from World Trade Center

TAMPA — Shortly before 9 a.m. on a beautiful morning 17 years ago, Greg Amira was making his way up to his office on the 73rd floor in the south tower of the World Trade Center.He felt the building shake."I assumed Building No. 1 was hit," Amira said...
Published: 09/11/18
Updated: 09/12/18
Experts say it’s likely Cuba embassy workers were sickened by ‘directed energy’ weapons

Experts say it’s likely Cuba embassy workers were sickened by ‘directed energy’ weapons

There is a "high probability" that U.S. embassy workers sickened in Cuba in late 2016 were attacked by a "directed energy" weapon, a biochemistry expert told officials from U.S. Special Operations Command and its Ybor City-based incubator partner Sof...
Updated one month ago
World War II nurse, turning 100 in Tampa, recalls the pain of invisible wounds

World War II nurse, turning 100 in Tampa, recalls the pain of invisible wounds

TAMPA — During her time as an Army nurse in World War II, treating the wounded in North Africa, Normandy and the Ardennes Forest, Martha Cameron proved to be a pioneer in more ways than one.One of the first women to land in France after D-day, part o...
Updated one month ago
SOCom is asking to see all kinds of drones, some for delivering blood to the battlefield

SOCom is asking to see all kinds of drones, some for delivering blood to the battlefield

On a far-flung battlefield, 100 miles from the nearest treatment center, a Navy corpsman signals for a small drone to bring life-saving blood to a wounded commando.Meanwhile, a tiny drone shaped like a bug spies on enemy leaders. Another small drone ...
Updated one month ago
Howard Altman: Carrollwood veteran gets hero’s welcome retrieving dog tags from Normandy

Howard Altman: Carrollwood veteran gets hero’s welcome retrieving dog tags from Normandy

Nearly 75 years after first coming ashore in France as a young Army soldier, Boris Stern returned this summer to offer thanks to those who helped return his long-lost dog tag.He arrived to a hero’s welcome."I’ve been all over the world," said Stern, ...
Updated one month ago