Canadian machine gunners will be receiving approximately 1,148 7.62x51mm NATO C6A1 FLEX (Flexible) GPMGs to replace current C6s throughout the armed forces in late 2018. Part of this $32 Million contract is to upgrade the components of the machine guns with polymer buttstocks, M1913 Picatinny rails, and adjustable gas tube regulators similar to the U.S. M240 “Golf” models. The other half of the deal is that the current C6s are decades old, still with wooden stocks, a throwback to the pre-Cold War era. The machine guns will be manufactured at Colt Canada’s Kitchener, Ontario facility and as claimed by the Government will add an additional 13 jobs to the plant, while maintaining around 100 jobs through the contract.
Canada plans to buy 1,148 new 7.62 mm C6A1 FLEX General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) from Colt Canada under a CAD32.1 million (USD25.7 million) deal including related spares and accessories, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan announced on 26 July.
Colt Canada will begin deliveries of the GPMG in September 2018 and will complete the order in June 2019. The Canadian Army’s current C6 GPMG has been in service for more than 30 years and a number have been removed from active service.
The operational requirement for a polymer stock was originally created because wood couldn’t be decontaminated as easily as various plastics and metals in the event of an NBC attack against conventional troops. Nowadays the polymer stock will serve to make the GPMG lighter, but much more important is the ability to attach magnified optical sights and laser aiming modules to the new C6A1 FLEX. The informational poster shows M1913 Picatinny rails attached to the gas tube, for laser aiming modules. Hopefully, these will be sufficient enough to withstand the high amount of heat produced between the gas tube and the barrel over a standard course of fire. The addition of a rate of fire regulator is something that U.S. troops were introduced to in the M240 “Golf” model, and it ended in failure as troops were too often abusing the regulator and cranking it up as fast as possible, overworking the guns.
According to the contract cost and number of C6A1s that the Government plans to obtain, the cost of each GPMG comes out to around $278,745 Canadian, approximately $219,000 U.S. This does not reflect the actual cost per machine gun, as there are numerous other stipulations separate from the unit cost. The cost per gun will probably be around the $10,000 U.S. range, as this is what the U.S. Department of Defense paid for M240Bs.