The U.S. military is on its way to receiving one of the most technologically advanced sniper rifles ever built, the Barrett Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) Mark 22. The weapon is the next generation sniper rifle for the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and other combat units in the Army and Marines, according to a recent Popular Mechanics article.

In 2016, SOCOM had announced the need for a new Advanced Sniper Rifle. Barrett got to work and in 2019 was awarded a $49.1 million contract to develop the Mark 22, according to Business Insider.

Last week, Barrett announced that they had accomplished “all aspects of the Production Qualification Testing and Operational Testing phases” set in place by SOCOM. Since it has now received the final approval of operators within SOCOM, the Mark 22 will start being distributed to special operations units in January of 2021.

The advantages that this rifle will provide are priceless. Historically, different fighting environments have dictated the need for different sniper weapons systems. For example, in mountainous or open terrain environments, snipers often need a weapon capable of shooting a larger caliber, in order to engage targets at a greater distance. The .308 Winchester has become the common sniper round for the U.S. military, but its long-range engagement capabilities are limited.