Back in April, Brazil’s IMBEL released a statement on their future plans for expanding their product portfolio, this included a passing reference to a potential partnership with SIG Sauer. The statement, however, did not go into details of what the cooperation between the two companies might involve. We now have some more details on what the potential cooperation will focus on.
In their original statement, IMBEL describes themselves (machine translated) as:
a Public Dependent Company linked to the Ministry of Defense, through the Army Command, and integrated with the Science, Technology and Innovation System and the Logistics and Mobilization System, both of the Brazilian Army.
The statement goes on to mention the potential partnership with SIG Sauer in brief:
The negotiations with Sig Sauer / USA, initiated at LAAD SECURITY 2018, are quite advanced, which may result in the nationalization of products in its portfolio.
IMBEL has a long history of providing the Brazilian Army’s service rifles with indigenously produced FN FAL clones, with the latest modernised iteration, the IMBEL IA2, currently entering service. IMBEL, however, has never provided Brazil’s military pistols, with the Taurus PT92 currently in service. Despite this, IMBEL does produce some 1911-pattern pistols, the MD series, available in a variety of chamberings including .380 ACP, .40 S&W, 9x19mm and .45 ACP.
Our friends at Infodefensa recently spoke to General Aderico Mattioli, the CEO of IMBEL, about the potential partnership with SIG Sauer. He explained the IMBEL were principally interested in licensing the production of the P320, specifically the M17 model with its frame-mounted manual safety. Gen. Mattioli explained that IMBEL is looking to “reduce gaps, especially market ones, and achieve self-sufficiency in critical industrial capacities.” IMBEL aims to market the P320 to both Brazil’s military and also internal police and security forces like the ~100,000-strong Sao Paulo State Military Police.
SIG Sauer was kind enough to give us this statement on the potential cooperation with IMBEL:
SIG SAUER, Inc., headquartered in Newington, New Hampshire is in discussion with IMBEL, a Brazilian Ministry of Defense company about the production of P320 handguns for the Brazilian Army and law enforcement.
This cooperation could bring production of the most advanced handgun system in the world to Brazil.
SIG SAUER, Inc. is one of the largest manufactures of small arms, ammunition, optics and suppressors for global defense forces and is the official handgun of the U.S. military with the P320 based M17 and M18.