The Czech Republic are to purchase over 100 general purpose machine guns from FN Herstal. The Czech Army has agreed a deal to procure FN’s version of the Minimi light machine gun chambered in 7.62x51mm.
In a contract notice published on 22 November, the Czech Ministry of Defense announced their decision to purchase a further 110 7.62x51mm FN Minimis – known as the Mk48 Mod 0 in US. The order is for guns and accompanying accessories with first batch totalling 40 Mk48s with the second batch of a further 70 guns to follow.
The Czech Republic purchased 35 Mk48s back in 2009, with further guns delivered in 2015. It was widely rumoured the new guns would replace the Czech Army’s ageing Cold War-era vz. 59 GPMGs. However, it seems that the first of these guns have gone to the Czech special forces group rather than regular units.
The Mk48 was developed in the early 2000s for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), who have since fielded it in both Afghanistan and Iraq, to provide suppressive fire at extended ranges. The Mk48 takes the FN Minimi/M249, scaling it up to chamber 7.62x51mm rather than 5.56x45mm. The Mk48 has the advantage of being significantly lighter than the FN MAG/M240.
The Mk48 is currently believed to be in use with the Czech 601st Special Forces Group. The first of the new guns are to be delivered by 31 October 2019, while the contract is scheduled to be fulfilled by November 2019.