The US Army has released some photographs taken at Fort Bliss, Texas, during testing of the Army’s new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R). The new 7.62x51mm rifle from Heckler & Koch has not yet officially been fielded and testing and tweaking continues.
A squad from Alpha Company, 4-17 Infantry Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division took part in soldier feedback testing at Fort Bliss, on the 25th January, to help refine the new rifle and its ammunition. The testing was overseen by Program Executive Office Soldier (PEO Soldier) and will help dial in any changes to the SDM-R and its ammunition that might be needed from the individual soldier’s point of view.
Back in June 2018, TFB reported that according to PEO Soldier the US Army’s new SDM-R would begin fielding at the Brigade level in September 2018. This appears not to have been the case but the programme appears to be progressing with soldier testing taking place. The new rifle is based on the Heckler and Koch G28E / M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) but the SDM-R has a different buttstock, barrel twist and optic to the CSASS. TFB reported in May 2018 that the US Army had selected SIG Sauer’s TANGO6 1-6×24 optic for the new Squad Designated Marksman Rifle with 6,069 optics to be acquired.
The new photographs show the SDM-R’s fitted with the SIG optic but the rifles appear to have the same HK buttstock as the CSASS and the lower receivers are clearly marked M110A1 – the CSASS designation, the designation for the SDM-R has not yet been announced. The rifles also have folding back-up iron sights offset at the 1 o’clock position. The rifles are also fitted with OSS Helix HX-QD 762 suppressors.
Information released with the new photos explains that the SDM-R “is designed to give shooters at the ground level an increased range during combat while still maintaining close quarters capabilities“. The US Army hasn’t yet fully verified the SIG Sauer TANGO6 1-6×24’s maximum effective range but confirms that during testing soldiers were able to positively engage targets at a distance of out to 800 meters. Over 6,000 SDM-Rs are expected to be purchased by the Army.