Italian company Beretta Defense Technologies unveiled at DSEI military exhibition in London new ARX 200 rifle in calibre 7.62×51 mm NATO.
The ARX 200 battle rifle is distant derivative of modular Beretta ARX 160 assault rifle introduced in 2008. The rifle operates through short-stroke gas piston system with a rotating bolt. The weight is 4.5 kg without magazine and length is: 730 mm with folded stock; 890 mm with collapsed stock; and 1000 mm with extended stock.
In 2014 the Italian Ministry of Defence allocated USD2.7 million to Beretta for the development of the new battle rifle. The Italian Armed Forces has announced a possible requirement for 1,170 rifles named ARX 200 chambered in 7.62×51 mm NATO cartridge.
The Italians are planning to introduce two variants of ARX 200: a fixed stock designated marksman rifle (DMR) and foldable and telescopic stock battle rifle; both capable of semi-automatic and automatic fire. The new rifle is planned to fill the gap in Italian infantry armament between the 5.56 mm assault rifle and large calibre bolt-action sniper rifles, based on combat experiences in Afghanistan.
The Beretta ARX 200 DMR is to be equipped with a computerised Intelligent Combat Sight (ICS) developed by Steiner Optics (a subsidiary of Beretta Defense Technologies), which integrates a laser rangefinder, an inclinometer, and a ballistic calculator into a compact 6×40 optics.
The battle rifle is equipped with interface for the Beretta GLX 160 grenade launcher chambered in 40×46 mm NATO ammunition, a foldable telescopic stock with adjustable cheek rest, shock absorber back plate and four fixed sling attachments.
Italy has ordered four hundred ARX 200 battle rifles for trials and evaluation. The Italian Armed Forces be also testing how to introduce an battle rifle into small infantry units. Possibly 2-3 designated marksman rifle and battle rifles are planned to be at squad level. It is expected the first batch of ARX 200s be delivered to the end of 2015.
The Beretta ARX 200 rifle features fully ambidextrous and oversized controls includes bolt catch lever, magazine release button and fire selector. Unlike its predecessor, the 7.62 mm battle rifle is not designed to change which side shells are ejected. However the cocking handle remained reversible and can be switched from right to left side of upper receiver.
The ARX 200 is equipped with a quick-change free floating cold hammer forged barrel which can be removed and replaced in a minute using one wrench. The barrel locking bolt is located in front of magazine well. The Beretta informs the ARX 200 accuracy is 1.5 MOA with 5 shots at 100 meters. The 406-mm (16 inch) long barrel (excluded flash hider) has four right-hand grooves and 279 mm (11 inch) twist rate.
The monolithic upper receiver with long Picatinny rain on top is made of polymer reinforced by steel parts, including internal rails for a weapon bolt carrier. The polymer lower receiver is equipped with modular magazine well for new Beretta 20-round polymer magazine or with adapter for M110/SR-25 magazines. The ARX 200 is easy to convert to Russian 7.62×39 mm and 5.45×45 mm NATO ammunition.
The Beretta ARX 200 has passed following military and environmental tests: cold and hot temperature; temperature and humidity; ice; salt fog; heavy rain; salt water; sand and dust; mud; unlubricated; double feeding proof; and barrel obstruction proof.
UPDATE: Steve says: Our friends at Ares Armament have also blogged about this rifle, read more here.