The Czech Ministry of Defense has announced on 12/21/2021 that it will be purchasing 949 FN Herstal manufactured Minimi Light machine guns in a CZK1.12 Billion ($50.73 Million) deal with the Czech company, CB Servis Centrum SRO. This deal also includes optics, armor kits, and travel cases. The purchase includes both the 5.56x45mm chambered Minimi light machine gun, as well as the 7.62x51mm chambered Maximi light machine gun.
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FN Minimi Light Machine Gun
The Minimi light machine gun was developed in Belgium at FN Herstal and introduced in the mid-’70s. It was adopted by the US Military in 1982 as the M249 SAW. The weapon system is now in use by over 75 countries around the world. It’s a belt or magazine-fed, open bolt weapon that fires in automatic only.
FN Maximi Light Machine Gun
When the Minimi was first designed it was meant for the 7.62x51mm NATO standard cartridge but was quickly redesigned for the 5.56x45mm cartridge. When USSOCOM put out requirements for their Mk48 Mod0 the original 7.62mm Minimi blueprints were dusted off and used to develop the weapon system. The success of the Mk48 Mod0 led to FN offering it as a standard weapon for export known as the Minimi 7.62 or Maximi.
Modernizing an Army
The purchase is part of the Czech effort to update and increase the mobility and lethality of its ground troops as well as to enhance the interoperability with other NATO members and allies. It comes on the heels of a 2020 contract with Česká zbrojovka Uherský Brod (or just CZ if you prefer), for 16,000 Bren 2 Assault Rifles, 21,000 CZ P10C/F Pistols, and 1,600 CZ 805 G1 Grenade Launchers. In all that contract cost, CZK2.35 Billion ($92.5 Million).
Deliveries of the new equipment are scheduled to start in early 2022 and will continue through 2025.