Musical chairs of modern sniping, Part 1
September 23, 2011
Recently, the Head of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Gen. Nikolai Makarov announced a "Sniperization" of the Russian military. Based on combat experience in recent conflicts, Gen. Morozov said that separate sniper units will be created within today's brigade structure.
He pointed out that number of snipers in the Russian land forces does not match the missions the military is faced with. He added that additional personnel will be drawn from the ranks of professional soldiers serving under contract. It is planed to staff separate sniper units with qualified personnel by the end of 2012.
As far as weapons are concerned, Gen. Makarov said that roughly 10 000 high-precision sniper rifles will be purchased abroad, along with several modifications of Russian SVD semi-automatic rifles. Based on the previous experience of the Federal Security Service Special Purpose Unit "Alfa" that uses the British-made Arctic Warfare AWM-F in .338 Lapua Mag., the mass media speculates that these rifles will be chosen by the Russian military. Additionally, since the "Arctic" is in the name it was assumed that AWM-F would be a front-runner as it is uniquely suited for Russian weather conditions. It is also expected that Russian-made SVD rifles and several modifications will also be utilized as a main sniper rifle up to 800 meters.
It is interesting that new sniper units would be armed with both types of rifles. Having a rifle that has proven itself in modern conflict over and over, the Russians are not willing to abandon the good old SVD while at the same time trying to adapt a western style bolt-action rifle.
Today several Russian special purpose units utilize highly accurate foreign-made bolt-action sniper rifles and optics, mainly for anti-terrorism missions.
The British AWM-F sniper rifle is the apparent front-runner for the upcoming "sniperization" of Russian armed forces. The Russians will buy overseas if needed.
Along with its foreign counterparts, the well-proven SVD in its several modifications will remain in service with newly created separate sniper units.