Saturday, April 25, 2015

A look at Singapore Army sniper rifles

In the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), the lower end of the precision strike spectrum encompasses scoped infantry small arms acquired by the domain experts in 9th Singapore Division/Headquarters Infantry.

Seen here are a range of sniper rifles fielded by the Singapore Army. These are (from left) the Knight's Armament M110 7.62mm semi-automatic rifle (United States), Sako TRG22 7.62mm bolt action rifle (Finland) and the Accuracy International AX50 12.7mm bolt action anti-material rifle (United Kingdom).

The weapons were displayed yesterday at the "A Day in the Army" event at Headquarters Armour, which is the host for the Singapore Army's annual Family Day.

The Singapore Army's sniper rifles allow the infantry to reach out and touch someone with a precisely-aimed projectile out to distances of 800m or more. Powerful optics allow even bespectacled soldiers to place their rounds where they should land, so long as they have a steady pair of hands and follow the fundamentals of good marksmanship (controlled breathing, eye relief, trigger pull, awareness of the wider tactical situation, effective camouflage, assistance from a spotter, egress plan etc).

Singapore Army snipers typically provide overwatch to manoeuvre forces as they move towards their objective. The range ring of weapons available to snipers means that sharpshooters can take down hostile targets such as key appointment holders, crew-served weapons like MGs and anti-tank weapons, vehicle commanders, special forces - the list goes on - outside the effective range of return fire from infantry small arms.

In Singapore Army infantry battalions, Company Marksmen armed with sniper rifles are tasked to provide covering fire in focused, single-shot engagements guided by the sniper's mantra of one shot, one kill. Such precisely calibrated, single-shot outgoing fire complements the concentrated firepower that support weapons such as the fully automatic belt-fed 7.62mm general purpose machine guns and 120mm mortars can deliver from the battalion's fire bases.

The larger sniper rifles in the Singapore Army's arsenal, such as the ones that fire 12.7mm rounds, allow marksmen to hunt and kill enemy snipers who may be trying to do the same.

Such weapons are also useful when investigating suspicious objects, thought to be IEDs, along the line of advance during combat situations when non-destructive testing isn't a key priority for SAF commanders.

When all else fails, call in an air strike.

The Republic of Singapore Air Force will know how to deal with the situation.


Unknown said...

Hi David, thanks for the update from the AOH. I thought our snipers were issued with APR308? Still recall seeing it at the last NDP at the Padang. The sniper was posing with it out of the rear hatch of an AFV.

Zi'Ang.C said...

Good day David,

Many thanks for the update on the SAF's new sniper rifles.

A few points of note:

1. The M110 used by the SAF does not seem to be the original M110 in use by the US Army, but more closely resembles the M110A1 where the fixed buttstock is replaced with a sliding buttstock.

2. As david lim as mentioned in his earlier post, other sniper rifles displayed in previous open houses (i.e. steyr ssg69, pgm mini hectate) seem to have drifted out of the public view. while many would believe that the army has 'retired' these rifles, what's your take on their 'disappearance'?

3. the section sharpshooter's weapon, based on your blog post, seems to have changed from the SAR21 sharpshooter variant (with 3x integral scope) to the M110. although i applaud the improvement in accuracy and lethality the combination of the 7.62mm round and a (possibly) variable zoom scope combination offers, the sharpshooter is much differentiated from the rest of the rifle platoon due to his (very) different weapon. this hence makes him a much more distinct and prioritized target by virtue of weapon carried. with warfare taking a more urbanised nature, do you think that the Army would have been better off with the marksman version of the SAR21?

4. although the geneva convention does not explicitly outlaw the use of .50BMG ammunition on personnel, has the Army clarified that the AX50 can and will be used against enemy combatants should the need arise? I am asking this question on the basis that while US snipers with .50BMG sniper rifles have used them against insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, there exists ammunition (Raufoss Mk211) which are explosive devices by virtue of design and whose legality against human targets are questionable at best.


David Boey said...

Hi David & Zi'Ang,
The Steyr SSG69 replaced the Carl Gustav.

Re: Mini Hecate. This rifle was evaluated as a SSG69 replacement. It is accurate in police-type situations in urban areas. But better rifles were found to have met the Singapore Army's specific operational requirements.

Re: 0.5" rifles. A number of armies use rifles of this calibre for the counter-sniping role.