The Czech government has made its first purchase of the new CZ 806 Bren 2 improved 5.56mm infantry rifles. The new weapons will complement the older 805 Bren model, while replacing it in production for the Army of The Czech Republic. Jane’s reports:
The Army of the Czech Republic (ACR) has signed two contracts with national firearms manufacturer Ceska Zbrojovka for the delivery of CZ 806 Bren 2 rifles, CZ 805 G1 grenade launchers, and CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom semi-automatic pistols.
The first contract, worth CZK417 million (USD16.6 million), is for the delivery of 2,600 CZ 806 Bren 2 rifles, 800 CZ 805 G1 underbarrel grenade launchers, 2,600 Meopta ZD-Dot red dot sights, 1,600 Meopta DV-Mag3 3x magnifiers, 1,450 Meopta NV-Mag3 night vision sights, 500 DBAL-A2 laser pointer/illuminator, and spare parts.
Under the second contract worth CZK59.3 million the ACR will get another batch of 5,500 CZ 75 SP-01 Phantom semi-automatic rifles fed in 9×19 mm cartridges. It was introduced to the ACR in 2012 when first batch of 5,570 SP-01 Phantoms was purchased.
The decision about the purchase was made in late October, and the Czech Republic used an urgent requirement procedure to buy new weapons. It was explained in terms of the security threat including Europe’s migration crisis and the Paris attacks.
The CZ 805 Bren is a good weapon, but distinctly flawed. The upper receiver was originally designed to be injection molded from fiber-reinforced polyamide polymer, similar to the construction of the German G36 rifle (which also served as the mechanical basis for the Bren’s design). However, during development aluminum was chosen as the material for the upper receiver, while the receiver’s shape itself was not redesigned for the new material. This resulted in an unnecessarily expensive and heavy upper receiver incorporating profiles well-suited to injection molding, but complex to create with aluminum machining processes. This flaw was corrected in the new 806 Bren 2, and some minor miscellaneous improvements made, resulting in a rifle that saves nearly a pound and a half (0.63 kg) versus the previous version, while almost certainly being cheaper and quicker to make. Further, the new rifle can use the standard AR-15 pattern of magazine as standard, enhancing compatibility between the Czech military and NATO forces. The 805 can also use AR-15 pattern magazines, but only with a magazine well specific to that type.