On the 20th February, FN Herstal was awarded a ‘major contract’ for rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers by NATO’s Support & Procurement Agency (NSPA) on behalf of the Portuguese Army. The contract is said to be for “5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 light machine guns.”
The NSPA, is the main logistics and procurement agency of NATO and is able to handle and support procurement for member nations. NSPA described the contract as a ‘major milestone’ for the agency. The contract was signed by FN’s sales director and NSPA General Manager.
Here’s a short statement from NATO:
“NSPA awarded today a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal, one of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of small caliber weapons. This is for the Agency a major contract to produce FN SCAR® assault rifles and FN MINIMI® machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army’s Sistemas de Combate do Soldado (Dismounted Soldier System) program.
The contract signing was executed by the NSPA General Manager, Mr Peter DOHMEN with Mr. Nicolas de Gottal, Sales Director of FN Herstal Company.
This award follows a competitive tender and a comprehensive technical and commercial evaluation conducted in close cooperation with the Portuguese Army. This high-level signature ceremony was held with NSPA, FN Herstal and Herstal Group top management representatives at NSPA Headquarters in Luxembourg.
The contract includes the manufacture and supply of 5.56mm and 7.62mm NATO caliber FN SCAR® assault rifles, FN40GL grenade launchers, MINIMI® 5.56 and 7.62 Mk3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories.
This award, by its magnitude, is a major milestone for the Agency in the domain of the supply of this type of equipment to the Alliance armed forces.”
The Portuguese Army’s standard issue service rifle is currently the Heckler & Koch G3 while a variety of LMGs and GPMGs are in service. The exact size of the contract and its worth have not yet been announced but back in November 2017, when details of the procurement for the Portuguese Army’s Sistemas de Combate do Soldado programme were released, the acquisition called for 11,000 5.56x45mm rifles and 300 new 7.62x51mm rifles. As well as 830 5.56x45mm light machine guns and 320 7.62x51mm general purpose machine guns. In 2017 the value of this procurement would be €42.8 million ($50.3 million).
Information on the quantaties of weapons ordered is now available:
The contract includes 11,000 5.56x45mm SCAR-L STD assault rifles (with 14.5-inch barrels), 1,700 FN40GL 40 mm grenade launchers; 300 7.62x51mm SCAR-H rifles and another 450 SCAR-H precision rifles. The order also includes 850 5.56x45mm Minimi Mk3 light machine guns and 320 7.62x51mm Minimi Mk3 light machine guns.