The Pentagon announced this week that Charles Reed Knight Jr's Florida-based Knight's Armament Company has picked up an eight-figure contract modification for assorted M110s.
The U.S. Army Contracting Command in Newark, New Jersey, awarded KAC a three-year $14,998,849 modification to an existing contract to supply the service with the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System and various M110 configurations. The M110 SASS is a semi-automatic sniper rifle/designated marksman rifle chambered in 7.62 NATO and was developed by KAC from the company's SR-25 platform.
As detailed by the Army's PEO Soldier office, the M110 SASS "supplements the sniper’s role to support combat operations with greater firepower and versatility. The 7.62mm SASS brings a semi-automatic capability to sniper teams and is particularly effective in urban areas where there are multiple targets and frequent close-combat situations."
The M110 SASS was first contracted by the Army through KAC in 2005, intended to replace the service's bolt-action Remington 700-based M24 Sniper Weapon System used by snipers, spotters, designated marksman, and squad advanced marksmen in the service. Deliveries began in 2007 and the platform was soon deployed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan in such roles. The Marine Corps also adopted the M110 to replace some M39 and all Mk 11 rifles, as a complement to the bolt-action M40A5. Even the Coast Guard uses the M110 in an airborne maritime interdiction role as well as in its elite MSST counter-terror teams.
However, the Army tapped Heckler & Kochin 2016 to supply a variant of the German company's G28 (HK241) platform chambered in 7.62 NATO, to be fielded as the M110A1 in both Squad Designated Marksman Rifle and Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System variants, differing primarily by the stock and optics fit. The Air Force followed suit on the adoption of the HK precision rifle as well, ordering 1,464 SDMR versions for use by special operations and security forces.
As HK has been delivering Georgia-completed M110A1s to the Army on a steady schedule since 2020, ostensibly to replace the KAC-made M110 SASS, this week's contract announcement is curious.
Banner image: U.S. Army Sniper School, Known Distance training. Maertens Range, Fort Benning, Georgia. (Photo: John D. Helms/U.S. Army)