Attention Rifle & MG companies: Portugal needs a replacement

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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.



Miles V

Former Infantry Marine, and currently studying at Indiana University. I’ve written for Small Arms Review and Small Arms Defense Journal, and have had a teenie tiny photo that appeared in GQ. Specifically, I’m very interested in small arms history, development, and Military/LE usage within the Middle East, and Central Asia.

If you want to reach out, let me know about an error I’ve made, something I can add to the post, or just talk guns and how much Grunts love naps, hit me up at miles@tfb.tv


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  • I’ve got 2 letters for them.
    F. N.

    • Rusty S.

      The Minimi 7.62 Mk3 would be a good choice for sure.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Plays keyboards in a Kraftwerk cover band.

    • ostiariusalpha

      It’s not quite Blue Steel, but he’s working that smoulder.

      • Amplified Heat

        That’s Magnum you have pictured; he’s got more than one look, you know. I will say that solider’s probably the most stylish outside the Italian forces, though, lol

        • ostiariusalpha

          To be clear, this chap might be able to pull off a Blue Steel if he really puts in the effort. But I didn’t want to mention the MAGNUM, because there’s no way he’ll ever manage that quintessence of smoulder perfectly balanced with the absolute summation of what a pout can be. That is a Zoolander exclusive.

    • John

      Now THAT’S FUNNY!

  • Lance

    Best contenders would be for rifles be the G-36, M-16/M-4. For GPMGs FN Mag and Danish M-60E6.

    • James

      No lance. Go back to Kitup! where you came from.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Aw, but where would we be without Lance? I’m actually saddened at how much closer to correct his punctuation is in this comment.

    • Amplified Heat

      G36 would actually be quite shrewd. Very low priced given the ongoing replacement, but proven plenty good enough for home front duties that Portugal would be realistically using them for. Portugal isn’t in great shape financially, so it’d be foolish to invest in a ridiculously pricey HK or FN cutting edge product. If they insist on a Euro-zone product, anyway (some bargain AR may be a better global option)

  • Black Dots

    In b4 “Their next rifle should be a bullpup!!!!!1!”

  • Black Dots

    I can get them a large number of uh…”slightly used” FAMAS rifles in the next 12-18 months.

  • Ken

    Hi Point in their budget maybe?

  • Jim N Jenna SK

    I’ll take your G3’s please

    • john huscio

      PTR is already churning them out on the very machinery used to make the rifles those soldiers are holding.

  • Phil Hsueh

    Are they wearing Blackhawk tac vest or a BH style clone? I think that’s the first time I’ve actually seen one of those used outside of some TV show or movie.

    And if they end up replacing their P5s, any chance of those getting imported into the US? And, are C&R pistols exempt from CA’s stupid list, although I’m not sure the P5 would rightfully qualify as a C&R.

    • Bill

      I’m thinking those are actually models or something for a photo shoot: their kit and uniforms are too clean and unbeatup.

      I have a BH tac vest from when I was easily manipulated. Still like new, I’m sure.

      • Alex

        Not models, they are actually paratroopers from the airborne brigade. Uniforms are clean because Portugal isn,t currently invading or occupying foreign countrys.

        • Bill

          I reckon that helps keep things spiffy.

      • AK

        If you’ve ever been to the military, you know the uniform will be clean for public events, and if it’s not in a “cleanable” state, you will be issued a new one.

        • Bill

          Never military, but in LE if you stay that clean for longer than 15 minutes you aren’t doing your job…except for court, parades, elementary school presentations , or getting your picture taken, except when you don’t want your picture taken…

          • AK

            I guess it’s the opposite then. Almost all military public appearances are photo-ops of a sort, even these event guard duties. If the public sees you actually getting dirty, you are either training in a populated area or in a warzone.

    • Alex

      Portuguese army still uses 1960’s P38’s, not P5’s

    • Kivaari

      MY old BH vest was similar but without the shotshell loops. I found it to work great for stake out details. I carried a full duty belt attached to the lower loops (identical lay out to my uniform rig) and then two radios and spare batteries in the magazine pouches. It may not have been much used outside of TV, but when the duty belt was attached that added weight kept everything pretty much in place. Am I supposed to feel weird for liking that old BH design?

    • Kivaari

      The P5 was the most inaccurate modern semi-auto pistol I ever owned. It was doing good to hit an 8 inch bull from a solid rest at 25 yards. When I bought it the price was $1289, which was 5 times what it was worth. Considering how inaccurate it was it wasn’t worth keeping.

  • 40mmCattleDog

    Wow, I’d hate to be stuck with that heavy ass G3/grenade launcher combo and only had that crappy one point sling attached to the buttstock to wrangle it with.

    • AK

      I believe the Germans call it the “hodenbrechergerät”

      • iksnilol

        You mean “Kopfbrechergerät”?

        • AK

          No, definitely hodenbrechergerät, the way it hangs down from that one point sling. Just thinking about switching to secondary in a hurry “schmertzt meine hoden”.

          • iksnilol

            Ouh, I see, I forgot what hoden was. I was thinking in Norwegain where “hode” is “head”.

          • AK

            Well, some say the second brain is located there…

          • iksnilol

            *remembers*

            [Painful remembering]

            yeah, something like that.

  • Martin M

    Um, why? Is Spain threatening them?

    • Minuteman

      Their equipment is simply too old and worn out, thus slated for replacement.

      • AK

        That G3 looks mint.

        • Minuteman

          Sure, but they’re looking for something new.

  • Minuteman

    Individual

    Pistol: LH9N MKII
    SMG: Uzi Pro or B&T MP9
    General Service Rifle: CZ 806 Bren 2 A1 or Galil Ace 23 N
    LMG: Negev NG7
    Grenade launchers: B&T GL-06, Milkor SuperSix, Raytheon Pike
    Precision: MSG-90A2, Accuracy AX .300NM, Serbu BFG-50A
    Rockets: NAMMO M72; ASM-FFE, A7-LAW, EC MK2 variants
    Frags: RUAG Pearl

    CSW

    HMG: M3 .50 w/ Rheinmetall Vingmate as far as not integrated with an RCWS
    AGL: CIS 40 w/ Rheinmetall Vingmate as far as not integrated with an RCWS
    GPMG: M240L or M240B
    Rockets: RGW-90 series
    Anti Armour: Spike LR, Predator SRAW A & B
    Mortars: Hirtenberger; M6C-640T, M6-1000 and M8-1365

    Other ordnance

    Picatinny Arsenal M86 PDM
    ATK M4E1
    Rheinmetall MK13BTV-EL

    Bottom line: none of these weapons need after market tweaks and are good to go right out the box. Hence my recommendations.

  • Renegade

    Who’s Walter, and where can I get his modern P38?

    • ostiariusalpha

      The pronunciation is still the same, at least.

    • AK

      They’re not that good. Aluminum frames that tend to crack after a few thousand rounds…get a real Wehrmacht version, even Spreewerke last ditch versions are much better.

  • Don Ward

    #HENRYTHENAVIGATORDIDNOWRONG!!!

  • roguetechie

    Please dear baby Jesus tell the Portuguese to donate g21e kits to poor American gun guys like me who are sadly lacking in superior Teutonic Krupp Stahl!

    If you have any 23e kits I’d happily take one or two of them too…

    Heck I’m not picky I wouldn’t sneer at HK21 & 23 original kits!

    P.S: I’ve been really good so can you send me an MP9 with a 6.5 cbj kit and 500 rounds of each loading for it?

    While you’re at it, maybe call Santa Barbara and have them rustle me up a couple early CETME’s in 7.92×41 with a grab bag of ammo and a couple ameli LMG’s (with the briefcase please)?

    • Kivaari

      The HK 21 isn’t worth owning. They are hard to keep on target and self destruct in a couple thousand rounds. It takes two guys to charge the thing. On single fire they are deadly accurate. Go for a burst and you need half-a-dozen sandbags on the bipod.

      • PK

        Shhhh. I still get way more for 21 parts than MG3 parts. You be quiet and let me make my money.

      • roguetechie

        Damnit thanks for ruining that dream lol

        • iksnilol

          Comrade, get PKM, many sardine can of ammo… Maybe some shasljik and vodka, and enjoy life. Smell the roses and watch the sunset and all that.

          • roguetechie

            Yes, that’s what I’d prefer to do honestly. Pkm is a hilariously awesome gun.

          • iksnilol

            Is simple, is cheap, works for most purposes. + you can actually carry it without asking babushka or Tatyana for help.

          • Kivaari

            A friend with an SOT has a PKM. It is fantastic.

      • John

        I agree. I think they’re sexylookingashell but you’re right.

        I have seen many just beat themselves to death. When they run well, they run well… but that never lasts long. And they run WAAAYYY too fast.

        When they don’t run well, they don’t run at all.

        Junk, IMHO.

        • Kivaari

          Agree. They are a very nice looking MG.

  • Richard

    Oooh they should get on the bullpup bandwagon and get bullpups – get ready for the future with the futuristic bullpup rifle! The future is here, and it’s a bullpup!

  • Big Daddy

    There are so many very good weapons and weapon systems being made today it should be easy. So expect them to screw it up like India and some other countries.

  • Porty1119

    The G3 has to be my favorite semiauto. It just feels solid and right.

    • PK

      I love everything but the ergonomics. And the charging handle placement. And the annoyance of having to change the locking piece when running silenced or not.

      Other than that, yes, they really are outstanding rifles. I find accuracy on par with bolt actions, a bit less but not by much.

  • jono102

    This theoretically would be a good fit for both H&K and FN to target. They both produce pistols, rifles/40mm and machine guns of good quality. Either could offer a complete package which would probably give Portugal the best value for money on a bulk deal.

  • Blake
    • iksnilol

      That angled hood gives it a slight sci-fi appearance.

      • Blake

        I’m pretty sure it’s like that to present fewer pointy angles for brush & branches to get hung up on. Also when running in dirt & sand & stuff (& possibly deep water, judging from the snorkel) I can see more of it falling off to the side rather than being blown back into the windshield

      • SP mclaughlin

        Coming to a Neil Blomkamp film near you!

    • john huscio

      Wonder if their importable to the US

      • Blake

        Only if you had no intention whatsoever to use it on public roads or insure it, as you’d never be able to title it properly. Given that questionably-imported old beat-up Defenders easily go for over fifty grand in the US, if you want a piece of old-school Euro 4WD gas-guzzling exotica your best bet is probably an officially-imported early-2000s Merc G-class.

        But really you’d be better of with as much Land Rover Discovery as you can afford. They’re incredibly well built, as capable off-road as farm machinery, & much more comfortable than Defender/Land Cruiser/G-Wagen type balls-out 4x4s.

    • Rocketman

      Looks to me like the illegitimate child of a Hummer and a Yugo.

  • Can’t wait for some of those P5s to hit the surplus market… I’ve always loved the look.

  • john huscio

    LMT should be able to win and fill this contract.

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    I’d just like to have some of the ones they have now. Even with a torch cut through the middle of them.

  • John

    So, my thoughts.

    1. Unless Walther offers a major discount on the P99-type pistols, Portugal will flat out ask Glock to provide them.

    2. If Portugal asks HK to make their rifles AND submachine guns–and IF the France contract was actually won by HK–Portugal will probably get a massive discount on their order due to economies of scale. They won’t want to settle for a G36, especially after the reports about its reliability in combat. If not, I see no reason why Colt Canada or LMT can’t jump on this right now, especially as Portugal hasn’t said “Europe Only”.

    3. FN will probably provide the light machine guns. Proven, reliable enough and the U.S. still uses them, so bonus style points. Or they might go with the guys in Nevada who’ve resurrected the M60E6, if they’re cheap.

    • J Garcia Sampedro

      H&K could also provide the MG4 LMG. In Spain it has mixed reviews, but mostly positive (after all it replaced the broken down, 20-years-old AMELI).
      I doubt they prefer the G36 over other options, since they have seen how it went in our service for years, and their weather is like ours (summer in the Iberian Peninsula can rival with A-stan).
      Unless H&K tries to sell them at very low prices some of the later German variants, of course.
      Money always is an issue.

  • Rocketman

    If I needed to go to war and could have any guns that I would want it would likely be the G-3 with 20 round mags and a high capacity .45 automatic. Just replace the P5 with a decent .45 caliber Glock and you should be good to go Portugal!

  • Anon E. Maus

    I’m thinking Smith & Wesson could set them up with an AR, make a nicer version of the M&P-15, with 14.5″ and 20″ barrels, then free-floated MLOK fore-ends for respective guns, and finally a nice cerakote finish for durability, camo, and looks.

    Optionally they could go for MagPul MOE furniture if they want to save on weight and don’t care about attachments.