The US Army has confirmed that the M110A1 Compact Semi-Auto Sniper System (CSASS) is due to undergo production qualification testing and should be approved for limited user testing in early 2019.
Production qualification testing is carried out prior to full-rate production to ensure the effectiveness of the weapon and confirm the proper manufacturing processes and procedures have been followed. It also allows evaluators to judge the adequacy of the weapon for meeting its requirements.
Victor Yarosh, who works on the CSASS program at PEO Soldier’s Soldier Weapons department, said that:
The CSASS is smaller, lighter, and more ergonomic, as the majority of the changes were requested by the Soldiers themselves. The rifle is easier to shoot and has less recoil, all while shooting the same round as the M110. [Additionally,] the CSASS has increased accuracy, which equates to higher hit percentages at longer ranges.
A recent Army News Service article stated that the CSASS will feature a new suppressor and muzzle brake that allows for rapid successive follow-on shots with a reduced chance of detection. Furthermore, the new rifle will have higher power daytime optics, which will enhance a sniper’s surveillance capability and positive hostile identification at longer ranges.
Yarosh went on to discuss the role of the CSASS-equipped sniper:
An Army sniper is a kind of force enhancer because they execute a number of missions. They provide a surveillance mission where they use their high-powered scope to observe activity downrange. A sniper can pin down an enemy force through sniper concealment and engagement to provide the right shots at the right time. They can also prevent an enemy force from moving out of cover, which allows our maneuver forces to exploit the enemy by moving into a better position and engage.
The M110A1, which was originally selected back in 2016, will replace the M110. The program has taken several years to be funded and for fielding to move towards becoming a reality. In the meantime the Army has also selected the M110A1’s base rifle – the G28E to be the basis for the new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle, set to be fielded in September 2018. The CSASS will likely follow it sometime in 2019.