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Portuguese army to receive assault rifles, machine guns, grenade launchers from FN Herstal.

| 2019

NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has awarded a contract to Belgium-based company FN Herstal for the supply of rifles, grenade launchers and machine guns to the Portuguese army. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR assault rifles and FN MINIMI machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army's Sistemas de Combate do Soldado (Dismounted Soldier System) program. This award, by its magnitude, is a major milestone for the Agency in the domain of the supply of this type of equipment to the Alliance armed forces.

Portuguese Army to receive weapons manufactured by FN Herstal Belgium
Among its future weapons manufactured by FN Herstal (Belgium), the Portuguese army will receive the very successful SCAR rifle, here in the hands of a member of the  Belgian Special Forces (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The contract signing was executed by the NSPA General Manager, Peter Dohmen, with Nicolas de Gottal, Sales Director of FN Herstal. The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk.3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories. This award follows a competitive tender and a comprehensive technical and commercial evaluation conducted in close cooperation with the Portuguese Army.

Portuguese army to receive assault rifles machine guns grenade launchers from FN Herstal 2
The contract signing was executed by the NSPA General Manager, Mr Peter Dohmen, with Mr. Nicolas de Gottal, Sales Director of FN Herstal. This high-level signature ceremony was held with NSPA, FN Herstal and Herstal Group top management representatives at NSPA Headquarters in Luxembourg.(Picture source: NSPA)

As announced in November 2017, the Portuguese government and army had agreed to have NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) handle the procurement of new weapons for the Portuguese Army. The move represented the latest in a series of attempts by the Portuguese to launch a major procurement program. The first was reported back in July 2016, following the passing of Portugal’s Military Programming Law 2015-26.

The programme called for 11,000 5.56x45mm rifles and 300 new 7.62x51mm rifles. New machine guns were also needed with 830 5.56x45mm light machine guns and 320 7.62x51mm general purpose machine guns. Other kit includes 450 7.62x51mm precision rifles, 1,700 grenade launchers, 380 shotguns and 3,400 sights.

The programme was projected to cost up to €42.8 million ($50.3 million) with purchases due to be made by 2022. A similar announcement back in May 2017 also suggested a programme to procure over 10,000 small arms would cost €41.9 million.

The Portuguese Army’s current primary service rifle, the Espingarda m/961, is a licensed indigenous copy of the Heckler & Koch G3. However, the elite Rapid Reaction Brigade (consisting of paratroops, commando and special forces units) also use the HK G36K and HK416A5. Since the closure of Portugal’s state-owned defence company, INDEP – Indústrias Nacionais de Defesa, EP, in 2007, Portugal does not have the indigenous production capacity to fulfil the need for new small arms. Hence the contract awarded to FN Herstal.


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