The Portuguese Army has recently put out a tender for a procurement of 10,225 light machine guns, rifles, submachine guns and handguns according to a recent report by Jane’s Defense (in an article very poorly edited for what they usually put out). The procurement will be in the ballpark of $90.2 million, and is intended for the Army to replace three entire battalions worth of small arms. The report states that the Army previously canceled its former standing tender from 2005 wherein the service declared it needed 30,000 small arms, and is now going with this current one. It also mentions that gear procurement and “light armament” are being looked at as well. It looks like this means personal Infantry equipment and with that it seems the plan is to bring the Army up to speed across the board. From the report-
The Portuguese Army is currently working on plans to entirely replace the bulk of its small arms, the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence (MoND) told IHS Jane’s on 29 July.
The plans will see the acquisition of 10,225 weapons including: assault rifles, light machine guns, sub-machine guns, and pistols. These arms will equip at least three battalions or about 1,500 troops, the MoND said.
An amount of EUR80.8 million (USD90.2 million) has been allocated for the period of 2017-26 to fund the project as part of the Military Programming Law 2015-26, approved in May 2015. The project integrates with the army’s Force Protection and Survivability Capability programme.
To set up the weapon acquisition project, the army is fleshing out its desired technical specifications for the types of weapons, it recently said to IHS Jane’s . The project itself has two associated sub-projects consisting of the acquisition of soldier gear and procurement of light armament.
The new plans finally replace Portugal’s subsequently cancelled issuing of a letter of intent in December 2004 to procure 31,000 assault rifles, 1,700 machine guns, and 6,800 pistons.
Currently the Portuguese are still using an assortment of G3s, HK 21Es, Uzis, and P5 (modern P38 made by Walter) handguns. Earlier we reported on Portuguese SOF units jumping on the H&K 416 and 417 band wagon. It seems unlikely that the budget for their line units would be enough for the 416 for general issue as a rifle, but other European nations have adopted the 416 for such general issue. Possible contenders for this might be the G36 or an American made variant of the AR. New Zealand and Britain have been adopting LMTs rifles recently. The Portuguese have an Army of around 24,000 soldiers with around 40,000 total military strength. So an adoption of this size wouldn’t be too groundbreaking, but the real question is probably going to be if an AR variant beats out an alternative.