The Turkish Defense Ministry has announced the continued acceptance of their new service rifle, the 7.62x51mm MPT-76 in a new batch of 15,014 rifles for their armed services. This is out of an initial order of 35,014 rifles that was placed in June of this year. Now, the Jane’s report says this is for the Turkish army, navy, and gendarmerie. Which if we do some quick researching, combined is comprised of around 600,000 troops across the board. So a contract of 35,014 rifles could possibly be enough to arm some of the units dealing with PKK and the Syrian border. But again, this would only be at most, three divisions worth of troops getting this new rifle. Certainly not enough to equip all the initial training camps with them, in addition to the units that new troops would be reporting. However, like all new adoptions of a service rifle, it cannot come at once and will take a while for Turkey to fully phase out their current 7.62x51mm G3 rifles.
The MPT-76 is essentially a locally manufactured, and licensed version of the H&K 417 with the addition of a gripping surface between the magazine well and the forend. It has an extremely high carrying handle that has a slot in it where the picatinny mounted sights are used through. I suspect some of the actual end users will be taking this handle off, and putting it back on when turning the rifles into the armory. I certainly would. The thing is ungodly in size and seems to be unnecessary. In addition, the folding front sight seems to take from the SCAR platform in the folding design. Why Turkey is sticking with the 7.62×51 could be explained from a number of perspectives, but I would assume it has to do with the terrain the country is in. Unlike built up European cities, Turkey’s southern border with Syria is extremely wide open and is mostly desert. To the east, the fight with the PKK in Kurdish areas is similarly wide open, but covered with low laying vegetation. A 30 caliber round would do well in both of these environments as opposed to the NATO standard 5.56x45mm.
Turkey has ordered a second tranche (sic?) of its new MPT-76 service rifle, the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) announced on 16 December.
Signed with local company Kalekalip and worth TRY60 million (USD18 million), the contract for the second tranche includes 15,014 of the 7.62×51 mm chambered battle rifles for the Turkish army, navy, and gendarmerie.
The contract is the second part of an initial serial production phase including 35,014 rifles. The first tranche of this initial phase, including 20,000 rifles, was contracted to state-owned company Machines and Chemical Industries Board (MKEK) in June for around TRY80 million.