On 30 September the Australian Defence Department announced that it had selected a raft of new weapon systems as part of the first tranche of its major Lethality System Project (LAND 159) project. One of the weapons selected was the Benelli M3A1 which will become Australia’s new Combat Shotgun.
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The new close combat shotgun will be used by Australia’s dismounted operators. The announcement stated that the Benelli M3A1 is “operable in semi-automatic or pump-action mode, it is complemented with a red dot sight and white light illuminator.” The red dot sight in question appears from the photographs released by the Australian Department of Defense to be a Leopold DeltaPoint Pro.
Beretta Defense Technologies representatives also confirmed that the Steiner Optics GmbH M830r LRFB 1535nm laser range finder binoculars had also been selected as part of the Sniper Surveillance Capability. Steiner Optics are a part of Beretta Defense Technologies.
The Australian Defence Department’s stated aim of the LAND 159 program is to:
replace or upgrade weapons systems used by the ADF’s dismounted combatants, ensuring they maintain a capability advantage over potential adversaries in lethal and non-lethal force capabilities to beyond 2030. Contracts have now been signed for the first tranche of weapon systems, which includes the Sniper System and the Close Combat System (comprised of the fighting knife, pistol, shotgun and the assault breaching system).
The selection of the Benelli M3A1 is part of a larger program with a new pistol, the SIG Sauer P320 XCarry selected to replace the Browning HiPower and the SIG Sauer MCX in .300 BLK selected as a new personal defense weapon. A pair of new long-range precision rifles from Barrett and Accuracy International have also been selected. The announcement comes as LAND FORCES 2022, one of Australia’s premier defense exhibitions begins on 4 October in Brisbane.