Earlier we reported that Česká zbrojovka (CZ) had tentative plans to partner with Pakistan Ordnance Factory (POF) to locally produce a licensed variant of the CZ 807 in 7.62x39mm locally within Pakistan. Most recently we have seen official confirmation that POF is taking serious steps to produce the rifle in its entirety, with a full hand over of the technical data package and manufacturing rights from CZ to POF.
The official stated: “Recently we have [CZ] signed a letter-of-understanding with POF, and we are ready to transfer, the full transfer (sic) of modern technology from CZ to Pakistan, to POF, so we can produce the most modern and most advanced assault rifles in the world at POF.”
Under the LoU signed at IDEAS, POF and CZ agreed to “negotiate delivery of complete technology for the production of small arms … [with] gradual launching of production in Pakistan, ranging from light assembly to maximum localization.” It appears that CZ had a follow-up meeting with Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) at IDEX 2017, which took place in Abu Dhabi in February.
CZ is among several competitors bidding to secure Pakistan’s next-generation standard-issue assault and battle rifle programs. The Pakistan Army intends to gradually replace its Heckler & Koch G-3 7.62×51 mm battle rifles and NORINCO Type 56 7.62×39 mm assault rifles. FN Herstal and Beretta are also competing with the SCAR and ARX platforms, respectively. The Pakistani television network Samaa TV reported that the SCAR-H and Beretta ARX-200 were shortlisted to supplant the HK G-3.
The winner(s) of Pakistan’s small-arms requirements will see their products manufactured under license at POF. If finalized, these products will form a core component of POF’s next-generation product catalogue for domestic and overseas markets. This would be a significant program for all parties involved, especially since it would amount to large-scale production spanning decades and, potentially, exports to third-party markets such as the Arab Gulf and Sub-Saharan Africa.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean a military adoption of the 807 by the Pakistani Army. Still in the competition is the Beretta ARX and FN SCAR along with the CZ 807. From a cost standpoint, I can’t imagine the SCAR faring very well against the Italian and Czech designs. As time goes on, the stakes are becoming higher for those involved, most likely CZ and Beretta, leaving FNH out of the equation due to cost. In an additional plot
As time goes on, the stakes are becoming higher for those involved, most likely CZ and Beretta, leaving FNH out of the equation due to cost. In an additional plot twist, we also reported earlier that POF signed similar letters of understanding with Beretta. Beretta has had relative success with the ARX in 7.62x39mm, specifically with contracts in Egypt and in Kazakhstan for special operations forces, so the Pakistani 7.62x39mm competition should have had initial production issues worked out with by now.
If either wins it will be the first large-scale break out of both weapon systems outside of Europe for general military adoption. But this also doesn’t just have implications for the Pakistani military, as POF exports a number of products outside of Pakistan as well. Especially to Gulf states that are currently the companies largest export buyers.