Tag Archives: CSASS

Compact Sniper Rifle

Operational testing of the Army’s newest precision rifle, the Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) began recently, marking one of the final hurdles this system will face prior to fielding.

A Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System awaits its operator before a post-drop live fire exercise at Gryphon Group Range, N.C. The system is made by Germany’s Heckler é Kock (U.S. Army photo)

Snipers assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division recently participated in airborne infiltration test trials of what could potentially be the Army’s newest sniper system.

«The compact nature of the CSASS is appealing to airborne forces and particularly Snipers who are typically armed with long barreled precision rifles», said Sergeant 1st Class Ross Martin, a Test NCO with the U.S. Army Operational Test Command’s Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD).

«Current sniper systems are equipped with 20-inch barrels, sound suppression systems and full-length stocks that provide accuracy and a stable firing platform required of any precision rifle», said David Parris, a CSASS New Equipment Training (NET) trainer from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command’s Soldier Weapons Support.

Being a product of battlefield evolution, the CSASS is more geared toward operations in urban environments and operating in and around armored vehicles where traditional length sniper systems can be cumbersome.

«The CSASS will feature a reduction in overall length (with the suppression system attached) and an adjustable stock that provides maneuverability and promotes a stable firing position», said Victor Yarosh of Project Manager Soldier Weapons.

This will provide airborne snipers a more compact load during airborne infiltration operations and provide a precision rifle platform more conducive to their combat environment without reducing their lethality.

Specialist Nicholas Farmer of Orlando, Florida, a Sniper in C Troop, 1st Battalion, 73rd Cavalry Regiment immediately identified the attributes of a more compact precision rifle.

«The CSASS is much shorter and lighter than our current system which will make long dismounted movements and reaction to contact more efficient», he said.

Specialist William Holland from Sylacauga, Alabama, a sniper with 2nd Battalion 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment echoed his fellow snipers assessment as, «lightweight and compact makes for a more manageable load during post drop operations».

Prior to testing, Snipers participated in a NET which included familiarization with the system, maintenance, target engagement and zeroing procedures.

The critical task in testing any small arms platform intended for use by airborne forces is ensuring zero retention of the primary optic subsequent to airborne insertion. This is a critical gauge of the paratrooper’s lethality during airfield seizure and other follow on operations.

«This process establishes a baseline for site reticle locations prior to and post airborne insertion», said Lacretia Cook, an instrumentation technician with the ABNSOTD. «Testers can monitor any ‘shift’ in the weapons sight reticle».

To evaluate this performance measure of the CSASS, the ABNSOTD test team employed the organization’s mobile weapons boresight collimator to ensure the snipers’ «pre-mission» zero was not degraded by shock associated with parachute infiltration.

Once this data was collected, snipers conducted a known distance live fire exercise to gauge lethality subsequent to static line and military free fall operations.

For Sergeant Christopher Landrum of Delano, California, the target audience of trained snipers was perfect.

«It’s vital that operational troops are the ones testing the system as they are best suited to recognize system requirements and mission capabilities», he explained.

Sergeant 1st Class Darin Pott, a senior sniper with the 1st Battalion, 73rd Armored Regiment said he would also like to see Soldiers added to the process earlier.

«The Army should involve the sniper community at the earliest possible milestone of development», he said.

«Operational Testing is about Soldiers. It is about making sure that the systems developed are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight», said Colonel Brad Mock, Director of ABNSOTD.

«OTC is the U.S. Army’s only independent operational test organization», said Lieutenant Colonel David Dykema, deputy of ABNSOTD’s Test Division.

«We test Army, Joint, and Multi-service airborne and airdrop related warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. Any time Soldiers and their leaders get involved in operational testing», he added, «they have the opportunity to use, work with, and offer up their own suggestions on pieces of equipment that can impact development of systems that future Soldiers will use in combat».

Operational testing began October 1, 1969, and as the Army’s only independent operational tester, Operational Test Command (OTC) is celebrating «50 Years of Operational Testing». The unit enlists the «Total Army» (Active, National Guard, and Reserve) when testing Army, joint, and multi-service warfighting systems in realistic operational environments, using typical Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable. OTC is required by public law to test major systems before they are fielded to its ultimate customer – the American Soldier.

The Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate (ABNSOTD) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina – whose lineage traces directly back to the original Parachute Test Platoon of 1940 – is home to the U.S. Army’s only operational test paratroopers, who conduct operational testing for joint airborne contingency and Special Operations Forces in support of the acquisition decision-making process. To provide airdrop certification of all airborne and airdropped equipment, ABNSOTD plans, executes and reports on its operational tests and field experiments, which impacts doctrine, training, organization and materiel.

New Sniper System

Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. was awarded a contract worth up to $44.5 million from the U.S. Army for a new compact sniper rifle. The Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System (CSASS) will provide the service with a small, lightweight, highly accurate weapon, addressing a critical need to replace older and heavier rifles currently in use.

Standard configuration
Standard configuration

Under terms of the award, HK Defense will produce up to 3,643 rifles. The new HK rifle is a lightweight variant of the 7.62-mm G28 in use by the German Army. The HK CSASS capitalizes on the proven G28 and HK417 designs, meeting the U.S. Army’s requirements for accuracy, reliability, size, and weight. Heckler & Koch will also provide spare parts, support, and training to the U.S. Army.

Patrol configuration
Patrol configuration

«This award represents another significant achievement for Heckler & Koch», said Wayne Weber, President of Heckler & Koch USA. «The HK CSASS rifle is a substantial upgrade over the U.S. Army’s current sniper rifles, enhancing accuracy and reliability while providing for a handier, more compact arm. It also confirms Heckler & Koch as a leader in providing small arms to the U.S. military».

G28 with night vision sight qioptiq Merlin-LR (Long Range)
G28 with night vision sight qioptiq Merlin-LR (Long Range)

According to Daniel Wasserbly, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly correspondent, the CSASS will more effectively execute a broad spectrum of missions than the current M110. The CSASS will provide the following upgrades: improved reliability, improved accuracy, and improved ergonomics; reduced weight and length; advanced coatings; improved optics; reduced felt recoil; enhanced suppressor performance; enhanced modular rail capabilities; an improved bipod, trigger, pistol grip, and butt-stock.

G28 with thermal sight L3-insight CNVD-T3
G28 with thermal sight L3-insight CNVD-T3


Technical data

Calibre 7.62-mm × 51 NATO
Modes of fire Semi Auto Only *
Barrel length **/configuration 420 mm (16.5“)/Hammer forged, chrome plated
Twist length NATO 305 mm/12“
Upper receiver Steel
Trigger pull ca. 25-28 N
Muzzle velocity/energy *** ca. 780 m/s – 3000 J
Functional and ballistic compatibility NATO standard rounds AB22 (FMJ)/AB24 (Tracer)/Selected accuracy rounds with bullet weights up to 12.3 g (190 gr) ****
Gas regulation for suppressor use Two stage design (suppressed/unsuppressed)
Universal interface STANAG 4694 (NATO Accessory Rail) *****
Colour concept RAL-8000 green-brown
Ammunition type Accuracy Rounds (OTM/HPBT/Sierra Match King)
No. of rounds 10
Range 100 m
Measuring method Bullet hole centre to bullet hole centre
Maximum dispersion < 45 mm (ca. 1.5 MOA) – Guaranteed with every G28 rifle
Telescopic sight up to 800 m Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-20 × 50/DMR reticle according to international Mildot standard/Full reticle illumination/Laserfilter DIN-EN 207-L4/paralax compensation
Telescopic sight up to 600 m Schmidt & Bender PMII 1-8 × 24/DMR reticle according to international Mildot standard/Full reticle illumination/Laserfilter DIN-EN 207-L4/Combined red dot and reticle illumination
Red dot sight Aimpoint Micro T1
Laser light module Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics LLM-225
Night vision sight Qioptiq Merlin Long Range
Thermal sight L3-Insight CNVD-T3 ******
Laser Range Finder Jenoptik HLR15
Height of sight radius ca. 38 mm
Transportation case Peli 1770-010-195E01 NF / CARAMELC010286

* No full auto conversion option

** Other barrel lengths in preparation

*** With NATO standard round AB22 – M80

**** No general functional guarantee for non-NATO standardised rounds; HK recommendation: functional and ballistic customer acceptance test with the G28 at ammunition manufacturers

***** Full backward compatibility with MIL-STD-1913 rail

****** Also usable as stand-alone sight