The Denel NTW-20 is a South African made anti-materiel sniper rifle developed by Denel Land Systems. It was made for use against lightly armored targets, such as emplacements, parked aircraft, bunkers, radar sites, and more. It can also be used in a typical sniper role.
This rifle was designed in the early to mid 1990s by South African arms designer Tony Neophytoun. Initial development was under the Aerotek name, and later the Mechem division of the DENEL Group, a major South African arms manufacturer, purchased all rights for this design. In 1998, the South African National Defense Forces adopted this weapon and began to purchase it in some numbers.
The NTW-20 is a manually operated, rotating bolt action rifle. The barrel is locked by the rotating bolt that has 6 lugs. The barrel along with the receiver could recoil inside the chassis frame against combined hydraulic and pneumatic damping system. A large, two-chamber muzzle brake also helps to keep recoil at an acceptable level.
The NTW-20 is a long range anti-materiel rifle, developed to reach out across wide plains of South African landscape and to deliver substantial firepower in a relatively compact, two men portable package. It is available in two versions, 20mm and 14.5mm, and can be easily converted from one caliber to another by simple replacement of the barrel, bolt, magazine and scope, which takes about 1 minute under field conditions. These two versions have slightly different applications; the 20mm version is built around the WWII-era German MG-151 aircraft gun round, so it is can deliver high explosive, fragmentation or incendiary shells with good accuracy, so relatively "soft" targets can be disabled by the bullet's contact. When long range and armor penetration is an issue, the 14.5mm version comes into the play. It is built around another WW2-era round, Soviet 14.5mm high velocity, armor-piercing cartridge, developed for the PTRD and PTRS-41 anti-tank rifles.
While probably not as accurate as specially developed .50 BMG (12.7x99mm) rifles, mostly due to unavailability of match grade ammunition in 14.5mm and 20mm calibers, the NTW-20 offers significantly more terminal effectiveness than any .50 BMG rifle; the 20mm version is most effective against targets like parked aircraft and helicopters, command and communication equipment, radar cabins, fuel dumps and unarmored cars, while the 14.5mm version is more effective against armored personnel carriers or relatively large "soft" targets at extended ranges.
Anti-personnel work is by no means a primary task for this huge rifle. The rifle can be disassembled and carried in two man-portable packs, each weighing about 12 to 15 kilograms; one pack carries the frame, stock, butt and bipod while the other carries the barrel, sighting equipment and magazines. The NTW-20 is equipped with a 8x magnification, long eye relief telescopic sight on a quick detachable mount; no open sights are fitted by default. The folding bipod is mounted under the receiver, and a non-folding frame above the receiver serves as a carrying handle and a scope protection bracket.