Belgium’s own Fabrique Nationale Herstal, known as FN Herstal or simply FN for short, has produced some phenomenal and highly successful guns over its 131 year history. From their contributions in the handgun market with pistols like the Hi-Power and Five-Seven, to rifles like the P90 and SCAR series – and many more – FN has made some memorable guns.
Some have been their own in-house designs while others are collaborations or licensed models from other companies, and one in the latter category is the Browning-parented .50-cal M2 heavy machine gun. One of the longest-serving weapons in many nations’ arsenals, the M2 “Ma Deuce” was first designed by John Moses Browning 102 years ago and evolved into its recognisable configuration in 1933. FN has manufactured M2s since the 1930s, and they continue to do so today. In a 6th July Belgian Defense press release, it was announced that their home country will be purchasing 243 new M2s from FN.
The release reads as follows:
The Council of Ministers approved on Friday, July 3 the launch of a public contract for the acquisition of 243 heavy machine guns, the second purchase of its kind in a year, the Belgian government announced on Saturday, without specifying the amount of this contract.
This contract will be concluded via a negotiated procedure without advertising, on a proposal from the Minister of Defense Philippe Goffin, the government said in a press release, which implies that it will be awarded to FN Herstal, a traditional Belgian defense supplier for this kind of weaponry. “As part of the 2030 strategic vision, Defense continues to use the .50 machine-gun as a dismounted infantry machine gun as well as onboard vehicles and ships. The current .50 M2 dates from the period immediately after the Second World War and repairs have become difficult and costly”, the government said.
Last April, the Defense Ministry had already been authorized to acquire 159 M3M Heavy Machine Guns (.50, or 12.7mm) manufactured by FN Herstal to equip the new Light Troop Transport Vehicle (LTTV) built by the English company Jankel on Mercedes Unimog chassis with which the Belgian army Special Forces and para-commando units will be equipped.
If you’re one of the military veterans or lucky few civilians who has had the opportunity to fire one of these awesome machine guns, you know what a powerful weapon the M2 is. Countless warfighters have employed these .50-cals with tremendous effectiveness, from WWII to the Global War on Terror and in between. With Belgium’s newest acquisition, the Ma Deuce is sure to continue its service for years to come. See you at the range!