Our friends over at Strikehold have revealed that UK forces are to receive a semi-automatic 7.62 mm x 51 mm 'sharpshooter' weapon to combat Taliban forces in Afghanistan.

Their article originally shown on Jane\'s news website details that the new weapon will engage targets beyond the maximum effective range of the 5.56 mm L85A2 assault rifle.

UK forces in Afghanistan urgently need a ground weapon which they can comfortably patrol with and that can provide range for contacts out to 800 m. UK forces have indicated that the majority of contacts occur at either very close range or at ranges out to between 500 m and 900 m, and currently the only \'small-arms\' weapon to respond with is the 7.62 mm General-Purpose Machine Gun, with MoD sources saying that "5.56 mm weapons lack the reach to engage the enemy at those ranges".

UK soldiers must complete a marksmanship course to become qualified as 'sharpshooters' and are regarded as being a grade below that of a sniper.