Big match debut for sniper rifles that penetrate concrete

With the Mumbai Police making all efforts to provide "unprecedented levels" of security for the ICC World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium on April 2, the force has decided to deploy, for the first time, highly sophisticated rifles which can even penetrate walls.

Police officers, involved in the security arrangements for the final, said three 0.50 caliber M107 Barret anti-material, long-range sniper rifles will be part of the weapons package of the security force.

"These anti-material rifles were procured from the US after the 26/11 attack. They will be deployed for the first time in the city on the day of the final. There are three such rifles in our arsenal and they will be deployed strategically at different locations with Quick Response Team commandos," said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Operations) Rajkumar Vhatkar.

"These rifles are very useful in hostage scenarios as the bullets fired from them can penetrate 12-inch-thick walls easily. They can also pierce armoured vehicles," said Vhatkar.

Officers pointed out that while the chances of a hostage scenario at Wankhede were negligible, soft targets in other parts of the city could not be ignored because of the massive deployment at the stadium.

An anti-material rifle or Special Application Sniper Rifle (SASR) is designed for use against military equipment rather than against combatants. Anti-material rifles are fired from the prone position and are similar in form and appearance to modern sniper rifles. They are usually chambered for cartridges more powerful than are normally required for neutralising an enemy combatant and can operate at a greater range.They are used by NATO forces.

While modern tanks and most other armoured vehicles are too well protected to be affected by anti-material rifles, the guns can pierce light-armoured vehicles. They can also be used against enemy aircraft, small watercraft, communications equipment, radar equipment, crew served weapons and similar targets. They are also used for destroying unexploded ordnance.

The Border Security Force utilises an Indian multi-caliber, anti-material rifle named Vidhwansak. It is manufactured by the Ordnance Factory in Tiruchirapalli and costs Rs 10 lakh.

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