Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Former Spook looks at the sniper threat in Iraq which threatened to surpass IEDs as the most lethal mode of attack, before sharply declining in recent months. But despite that drop, the sniper remains a potent threat in the future.

The lessons of Iraq (and other conflicts) underscore the need to invest in anti-sniper technology and training, even if the number of attacks was over-stated. Future adversaries--think North Korea and China--would present a much more serious sniper threat.

Nothing follows.


Blogger RKV said...

The Norks and Chicoms don't much operate in a manner which is conducive to sniper operations, at least from what we've seen in the past. Future doctrine who knows? That said, it's US success with sniping has given them a clue that the tactic could be useful. In terms of counter-sniper ops, use of long duration airborne systems combined with sound location systems are what we need to have in place. You generally kill a sniper with another marksman, or if the circumstances allow, heavy weapons (and that is going to be rare in urban operations). Meanwhile, keep teaching our young people to shoot. Nothing like spending your weekends hunting to build up marksmanship and stalking skills. It may sound funny, but it works.

10/31/2007 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

What types of anti-sniper defenses are available? Super camoflage like the Predator used against Arnold Schwartzeneggar, before he became governor?

I once wrote an article on anti-torpedo technology for Navy Institute Proceedings, but stopping an incoming torpedo is easy compared to stopping a guy with a rifle a mile away from you from taking a shot. Armor piercing bullets are easy to make and would defeat any conceivable body armor.

10/31/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger Cannoneer No. 4 said...

the Germans treated captured francs-tireurs as irresponsible non-combatants found with arms in their hands and usually exacted the death penalty.

Where within the Army or Marine Corps does countersniper expertise reside?

10/31/2007 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Funnily enough, snipers have the most counter-sniper expertise.

Counter-sniper tactics

10/31/2007 09:58:00 PM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

rkv, freestyle-unlimited archery kept me in shape at Edison Range at Camp Pendleton. Rear peep sight, low power scope and trigger release provided all the practical elements that were needed.

11/01/2007 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Okay, I found the perfect anti-sniper weapon.

From the Daily Mail:
New technology that can make tanks invisible has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.

In secret trials last week, the Army said it had made a vehicle completely disappear and predicted that an invisible tank would be ready for service by 2012.

The new technology uses cameras and projectors to beam images of the surrounding landscape onto a tank.

The result is that anyone looking in the direction of the vehicle only sees what is beyond it and not the tank itself.

A soldier, who was at the trials, said: "This technology is incredible. If I hadn't been present I wouldn't have believed it. I looked across the fields and just saw grass and trees - but in reality I was staring down the barrel of a tank gun."

Breakthrough: The MoD's 'Q', Professor Sir John Pendry
How the technology works in a combat situation is very sensitive, but the MoD is believed to be testing a military jacket that works on the same principles.

It is the type of innovation normally associated with James Bond, and the brains behind the latest technology is the MoD's very own "Q" - Professor Sir John Pendry, of Imperial College London.

He said the only drawback was the reliability of the cameras and projectors.

11/01/2007 05:20:00 AM  
Blogger dloss said...

"He said the only drawback was the reliability of the cameras and projectors. "

Well, that and the noise, thermal signature, and long trail of torn up ground behind the invisible tank...

11/01/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

"The Norks and Chicoms don't much operate in a manner which is conducive to sniper operations"

Neither does the US.

11/01/2007 01:04:00 PM  
Blogger Neo Conservative said...

i remember reading once about someone developing a computerised sound location system that was supposed to be able to triangulate the source of a shot and instantly deliver counter-fire.

i suppose it would have to be used carefully as it wouldn't be able to distinguish friend vs foe.

this sound familiar to anyone?


11/01/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

High-tech sensors that can pinpoint gunshots, send coordinates to police dispatchers and bounce back locations to patrol cars may become the latest crime-fighting tool for East Palo Alto police as they prepare for a long, hot summer.

The police department has drafted a preliminary agreement with Santa Clara's ShotSpotter, a company that builds and installs sound location sensors, that calls for the company to set up a half-mile zone to test its new software at no cost to the city for three years.

"I see no harm in trying it, especially since there is no cost to the city," Vice Mayor Patricia Foster said.

They're also doing this in New York.

Of course, snipers can simply adapt by using a "shoot and scoot" motus operandi. They're pretty much doing that now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Remember how tough it was to catch John Malvo, the DC Sniper a few years ago?

11/01/2007 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Neo Conservative said...

"snipers can simply adapt by using a "shoot and scoot"

the beauty of the computerised system was that it responded instantly... within a second.

i'm guessing that would likely impinge on any shooter's concentration.


11/01/2007 04:49:00 PM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

i'm guessing that would likely impinge on any shooter's concentration.

Hardly. This high-tech, gee whiz computer weapon is old news, and would be barely more than a nuisance to a good sniper.

As usual, everyone is more interested in spending money on shiny new equipment rather than investing in men (training).

11/01/2007 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

Systems are in place and being used to detect shots fored.
The problem in the present climate is the use of civilian cover by snipers.

11/02/2007 01:55:00 AM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

The problem in the present climate is the use of civilian cover by snipers.

Like I said, barely a nuisance.

Anyone can sit down and think of half a dozen simple ways to counteract such a system.

You want a good countersniper capability? Invest in good snipers and then, most importantly, let them do their jobs.

11/02/2007 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Are we willing to "let them do their jobs"? Remember how John Murtha convicted in the press the marines involved in the Haditha phony massacre? Has he ever apologized?

Look at what happened to Blackrock when they returned fire.

Every dead terrorist instantly becomes an "innocent civilian" in the leftist media simply because they aren't wearing the Al Quada uniform.

11/04/2007 09:08:00 AM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

Are we willing to "let them do their jobs"?

No, precisely my point. I started by pointing out that the US does not operate in a manner which is conducive to sniper (or counter-sniper) operations.

The talent is there, the will is not.

11/06/2007 01:50:00 AM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

Every dead terrorist instantly becomes an "innocent civilian" in the leftist media...

In today's NYT: "An Army sniper team leader charged with murdering three men south of Baghdad will go on trial today in Baghdad in a court-martial...".

This must be that highly conducive manner of operating that the US is famous for.

11/06/2007 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Grynch said...

Another pretty good anti-sniper weapon...
The Javelin is a manportable, fire-and-forget, antitank missile employed by dismounted infantry to defeat current and future threat armored combat vehicles. Javelin is intended to replace the Dragon system in the Army and the Marine Corps. The Javelin's range of approximately 2,500 meters is more than twice that of its predecessor, the Dragon. The Javelin has secondary capabilities against helicopters and ground-fighting positions. It is equipped with an imaging infrared (I2R) system and a fire-and-forget guided missile. The Javelin's normal engagement mode is top-attack to penetrate the tank's most vulnerable armor.

It also has a direct-attack capability to engage targets with overhead cover or in bunkers.

Its "soft launch" allows employment from within buildings and enclosed fighting positions. The soft launch signature limits the gunner's exposure to the enemy, thus increasing survivability. JAVELIN is also much more lethal than DRAGON. It has a top attack dual warhead capability which can defeat all known enemy armor systems.

Given that most snipers would presumably fire from cover, from behind a wall, sandbagged emplacement, or within a building it would be nice to have a man-portable weapon capable of penetrating the cover and taking out the bad guy.

The javelin even has a popup maneuver in case the sniper is hiding in a foxhole.

11/06/2007 04:23:00 PM  
Blogger Words Twice said...

The British used the Milan system in a similar fashion during the Falklands conflict. Of course, since that only lasted about 4 months, they could afford to. At a cost of around $78,000 per Javelin (FY99), that's a really expensive way of handling snipers. Then there is the collateral damage consideration, which is of the utmost importance.

Let our snipers do their jobs without court-martialing them, how's that for a novel counter-sniper tactic?

11/07/2007 12:52:00 PM  

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