British Army snipers call it ‘the Silent Assassin’ and it is the weapon the Taliban fear the most.
It is the British-made L115A3 Long Range Rifle which, in recent weeks, has killed scores of enemy fighters in Afghanistan.
In a new initiative on the front line, the Army is using sniper platoons to target the Taliban and ‘The Long’, as the snipers call it, can take out insurgents from a mile away.
Many of the elite marksmen who use the rifle make their own extraordinary suits of camouflage to stay hidden from the Taliban.
Some have been known to go ‘under cover’ for two days while they pick off the enemy.
Last week Army snipers were training with the rifle and full camouflage on the snow-covered ranges of the Support Weapons School at the Land Warfare Centre at Warminster, Wiltshire. One of them, known as Yuppie, said: ‘You could call it made-to-measure camouflage.
‘This one is green string tied into sheets, then covered in straw with straps attached so it fits tight. It took three months and a lot of patience to make.’
His comrade Dean, who like Yuppie is a veteran of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Northern Ireland, said: ‘I wouldn’t say us snipers are an elite, but we think we’re a cut above the rest.’
The L115A3 Long Range Sniper Rifle – based on a weapon used by the British Olympic shooting team – weighs 15lbs, fires 8.59mm rounds and has a range of 1,100-1,500 yards.