Knight’s Armament’s New KS-1 is the Basis for UK’s Project Hunter

The new individual weapon for the new Ranger battalions and elements of the Royal Marines Commandos has been selected by the United Kingdom as the Knight’s Armament Company KS-1. The KS-1 s KAC’s new dimple-barreled flagship rifle with an E3.2 bolt, with it replacing the next iteration of the SR-16.

In September 2023, the British military announced a plan under Project Hunter to partially replace their stock of SA80 rifles, and purchased 1,620 KS-1 rifles to equip the Army special operations brigade. The contract includes an option to purchase up to 10,000 over the next decade.

Last year gave us a brief glimpse of some of the other Project Hunter candidates via:

In August 2021, the specifications for the new gun were made public. In order to find a new Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) to replace the SA80/L85 family of rifles and Colt Canada L119s in use by the Rangers and Royal Marines Commandos, the UK initiated Project Hunter.


British troops will soon be more lethal on the battlefield as a new £90 million contract delivers modern, high precision rifles.

The Alternative Individual Weapon (AIW) system – known as the L403A1 and procured by Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) under Project Hunter – is made up of a new assault rifle fitted with a muzzle signature reduction system and an improved optical sighting system.

The AIW is a modern rifle using the latest in design technology and manufacturing methods, to produce an exceptionally reliable and accurate weapon.

Project Hunter has been a fabulous example of close collaboration with the user community and strong engagement with industry to deliver game-changing capability. The magnified optic means the user can engage threats from greater distances whilst the signature reduction system works to mask the AIW from detection from sight and hearing.

Supplementing the current in-service L85A3, the AIW system has been secured under a £90 million contract with Macclesfield-based company Edgar Brothers.

Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “This is another example of how we are committed to investing in the most advanced battlefield equipment to back our troops on the battlefieldThis advanced rifle’s ability to help soldiers maintain the stealth edge not only protects them but delivers war-fighting advantage over our adversaries.”

An initial £15 million order of 1,620 AIW systems has been placed, with options to procure up to 10,000 systems – totalling £90 million – under the contract over the next decade.

The systems will initially be fielded to the Army Special Operations Brigade (ASOB) who operate in complex, high threat environments.

As a key component of the ASOB, the Ranger Regiment will receive the AIW later this year.As an AR system, it shares much in common with the rifle systems used by many of the UK’s allies. Given their specialist role, and the critical task of working with and alongside many of the UK’s allies, the platform will enable ASOB to share skills and drills in an efficient manner.

Lt Col Gareth Davies, SO1 SoldierWorks, Military Capability Delivery, Army Headquarters, said: “Project Hunter has successfully delivered a new weapon option for UK Defence. At the current time this is being procured for the Army Special Operations Brigade (ASOB).

“It offers a marked increase in lethality, and the system includes one of the most capable day sights currently available. Importantly, the weapon system will be further enhanced by our newest generation of night optics, with which the ASOB are already equipped.”


The optics on the rifle appear to be an Aimpoint Acro P2 along with a Vortex 1-10 LPVO. Along with this news, Soldier Systems recently broke the news of Reptilia being awarded a contract to supply accessories for the new rifle. It appears it is their Reptilia mount on the rifle. You can read that article here.

Read more about Reptilia here:

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9 months ago

Glad to see knights getting a great contract for a great rifle platform..

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