UK Conducts First Live-Fire Test on New Rifle Kits

The UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has carried out a pilot live-fire exercise to evaluate the military’s latest rifle kits.

During the test, the DSTL designed a special obstacle course to evaluate and compare the performance of the SA-80 L85A2 and updated L85A3 variant rifles. The weapons were operated by six troops from the 5th Battalion, “The Rifles.”

The course included 14 firing points. Each of the soldiers was required to engage targets from firing positions ranging from 25 to 400 meters (82 to 1,300 feet).

The two-day event was held at Salisbury Plain as part of the NATO Science and Technology Organization Research Task Group SAS-145.

It was overseen by the alliance’s System Analysis and Studies Panel, which will utilize and disseminate the trial data to NATO members to enhance force interoperability.

SWEAT pilot live-firing exercise test.
SWEAT pilot live-firing exercise test. Photo: UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory


Test administrators utilized the Soldier Weapon and Equipment Assessment (SWEAT) tool, which tests firing consistency, accuracy, speed, and mobility.

“The idea behind the SWEAT course is that anyone can measure the effects of future soldier capability, such as a new weapons system, new boots, a new helmet or new body armour, and assess the effect that will provide upon the individual’s lethality,” according to DSTL personnel.

“This course for the UK, in the future, will be used to measure the effects of new capabilities for soldiers.”

“The final objective of the trial is for it to be used and developed by NATO nations to develop their own courses that are similar enough to allow interoperability between nations.”

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