The Boys (Anti-Tank Rifle) is Back in Town! Burmese Anti-Materiel Rifle Development

    Images appearing on Burmese media networks have revealed that the Burmese state-run Defense Industries corporation has prototyped at least three different anti-materiel rifles (AMR), putting at least on of them into production and getting them into Tatmadaw service. Older Burmese field manuals indicate that every battalion has a sniper “squad” that is allotted up to 8 precision rifles. Previously these were the 7.62x51mm NATO BA63 precision variant (Burmese licence-produced G3 Rifle) but these have since been replaced by the MAS (Myanmar Army-Sniper) and subsequent MAS MK I, MK II (a future TFB post will be written on these precision rifles). So where this new anti-materiel rifle falls into the Burmese infantry structure isn’t known at the current time or if they are even with the sniper sections of the battalions. Many militaries treat larger 12.7mm rifles as a class separate from a precision weapon because they usually aren’t as accurate (older Barrett M82s held 3 MOA) and are better employed against fortified positions or light skinned vehicles.

    What we know so far about the Burmese AMR in service is well, very little. Currently there isn’t an identifying nomenclature that has been associated with the rifle so we don’t even know what the Burmese call it. The first image that appears to have hit the internet is of what appears to be three prototype variants and was published online in 2017. In the background we have what is a modern derivative of the famed .55 Caliber Boys Anti-Tank rifle of Second World War fame. Although we don’t know the caliber of the rifle I’m making a conscious┬ábet that it is chambered in the Soviet 12.7x108mm cartridge. The reasoning for this is that relations with Russia and Burma are steadily improving, indicated by numerous other defense purchases. In addition to the MAS rifle appearing to be chambered in 7.62x54mmR as well.

    Image from Rock Island Auction- https://www.rockislandauction.com/detail/58/567/canadianinglis-manufactured-mki-boys-antitank-rifle-wwii

    Interestingly enough the Burmese Defense Services Museum actually has an original Boys rifle in a display case. This image from a Youtube video posted in May of this year illustrating the Tatmadaw.

    The rifle has been in the museum for a while, this image from when the museum was in the old capital of Yangon in 2006.

    But when it comes to actual use in the field, it appears that the middle prototype has been chosen with a reversed magazine position to the bottom of the rifle, a beefed up receiver and a redesigned buttstock that appears to be adjustable for length of pull and cheek rest.

    This picture appears to be the newest of the 3 that we have of the rifle in service. The camouflage scheme is the same as what is applied to other currently produced Burmese small arms such as the MAS and MA-Series of rifles. Note that there are at least 5 rifles in the picture, indicating serial production.

    The older bright green Tatmadaw uniforms and plate carriers are evident in this photograph, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the photograph was old as different units are receiving the new uniforms at different rates.

    Miles

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]


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