Two days ago, we blogged about the New Zealand Defence Force’s promotional video sneak peak of their new service carbine, based on the Lewis Machine & Tool CQB16, which will replace the joint Australian-New-Zealand variant of the Steyr AUG in service with the Commonwealth nation. We spoke with an LMT representative after the publication of that article about the New Zealand contract and the company’s plans for the future. The LMT representative said the company is
…launching a new rifle system at SHOT Show 2016 and that the New Zealand Ministry of Defense is the first purchaser from that family of products. But, [the company is] not able to release the details or specifications of that system at this time.
It’s very likely that LMT’s new rifle family will be based on the weapon demonstrated in the video released by the NZDF. The basic weapon in that video featured the standard monolithic LMT upper receiver, a Surefire Warcomp flash hider/brake, a 3 o’clock position bayonet lug, and a double-sided ambidextrous safety lever. On top of that, it was equipped with a Trijicon TA31 ACOG with piggybacked RMR red dot sight, M203-2003 nine inch short-barreled grenade launcher, a PEQ-15 laser target designator, and LMT back up iron sights.
LMT appears to be poised to release a new family of rifles, probably with both 5.56mm and 7.62mm versions. If I had to guess, I would say the new rifles probably target the military market, and there’s a good possibility that the rifles will come in packages including some or all of the accessories shown above. Knowing LMT, it is also a safe bet that there will be civilian semi-auto only versions of these rifles, as well.
Of course, we won’t know anything for sure until January.
For those who missed the NZDF video, it is embedded below: