US Ordnance gets a massive order for M2A2N .50 BMG Machine Guns

    As TFB reported last year, Norway has been looking to procure up to 1,300 M2 Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs), including tools and spares for a seven-year contract.

    The HMGs are to be mounted in existing Vinghog NM152 soft mounts as well as the Kongsberg Protector Nordic and Sea Protector Weapon Stations.

    Below: Topcover from KESK, are using an M2 Browning under a case together with His Majesty the King´s Guard Photo: Stian Norum Herlofsen / Forsvaret

    The possible contenders for this deal were probably FN Herstal/FNH UK, US Ordnance, and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.

    According to Jane’s US Ordnance has been chosen to supply the full amount of 1,300 M2A2N heavy machine guns (HMGs), with quick-change barrels and compatibility with Nammo, linked 12.7×99 mm (.50 BMG) ammunition. (Source)

    The order will continue over 7 years and replace the existing Browning M2s.

    The specification for the new system should include a quick-change barrel system, as well as compatibility with Nammo, linked 12.7×99 mm (.50 BMG) ammunition.

    The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) is the designated authority for procurement on the behalf of the Norwegian Armed Forces and other agencies.  Their general level of activity approximates 200 different projects. The main task is to support further modernization of the Armed Forces delivering safer and more cost efficient materiel and systems.

    Below: Norwegian Home Guard QRF unit “Rype” co-operating with the Americans during the battle of Oppdal. The Convoy on its way out of camp. Photo: Øystein Vårdal / Forsvaret

    US Ordnance explains the M2A2 below:

    The U.S. Ordnance M2A2 machine gun is an air-cooled, belt-fed machine gun that fires from a closed bolt and operates on the short recoil principle with fixed headspace and timing. It is capable of both sustained automatic and accurate single-shot fire. It can be mounted on a vehicle, boat, helicopter or other aircraft. Ammunition may be fed from either the left or right side of the gun, making it suitable for use by both infantry and in armored vehicles.

    The M2A2 weapon system has been tested to well over 50,000 rounds. Its single-breech lock system allows for field rebuild, eliminating the need for depot-level maintenance during its lifetime and thereby greatly reducing logistical support.

    U.S. Ordnance developed its M2A2 12.7mm weapon after years of experience manufacturing machine guns for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Foreign Allies. Its M2A2 offers the proven performance of the existing M2HB machine gun but also features fixed headspace and timing. This upgrade improves the performance of the battle-proven M2HB weapon system, largely increases the safety level for operating personnel and affords barrel changing on crew-served or coaxial-mounted weapons in 10 or fewer seconds. Only one person needs to change the M2A2 barrel, thereby reducing exposure to enemy fire and quickly readying the weapon for continued operation.

    The U.S. Ordnance M2A2 system utilizes the standard barrel thread, which means standard M2HB barrels can be used in the A2 gun as needed, in emergencies or training. (Using the standard M2HB barrel in a QCB weapon requires removing the Barrel Support Locating Pin, then headspacing the barrel using the standard headspace and timing gage.)

    Using only the A2 conversion kit, an armorer at the customer location can convert an M2HB machine gun into a U.S. Ordnance M2A2 weapon system in fewer than 30 minutes, without complex tools or machines.

    M2A2 Key Features

    • Fixed headspace and timing eliminate safety concerns associated with barrel changing and improper timing
    • Common barrel thread interchanges with existing M2HB barrels and non-QCB parts are interchangeable with M2HB machine guns, which eliminate logistics concerns during fielding
    • Improved barrel handle simplifies hot-barrel changing with better barrel alignment, and the retention system assures the barrel is securely locked and aligned
    • Can be fitted to all types of armored, light and heavy vehicles; patrol boats; helicopters; and other aircraft
    • Fires all types of NATO ammunition: Ball, Tracer, AP, API, APIT, AP Hardcore, and Multipurpose
    • Sustained automatic or single-shot firing from the closed bolt for single-shot accuracy
    • Simple, durable and rugged design for easy maintenance and conversion capacity from left hand to right-hand feed
    • Various mounting applications, for manual or solenoid firing

    This article may also interest you: The FN Minimis of Norway.


    Very recently TFB also reported that Norway ordered more Heckler & Koch HK416s.  According to Overt Defense, the amount totals 11,000 assault rifles.

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6×6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.