Portuguese army gets infantry weapons from FN Herstal

NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) has awarded a contract to Belgium-based FN Herstal for the supply of rifles, grenade launchers and machine guns to the Portuguese army.

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. 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 contract signing was executed by the NSPA General Manager, Peter Dohmen, with Nicolas de Gottal, Sales Director of FN Herstal. 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 Mk.3 Tactical light machine guns, and all related accessories. This award follows a competitive tender and a comprehensive technical and commercial evaluation conducted in close cooperation with the Portuguese Army.

As announced in November 2017, the Portuguese government and army had agreed to have NATO’s Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) handle the procurement of new weapons for the Portuguese Army. The move represented the latest in a series of attempts by the Portuguese to launch a major procurement program. The first was reported back in July 2016, following the passing of Portugal’s Military Programming Law 2015-26.

The programme called for 11,000 5.56x45mm rifles and 300 new 7.62x51mm rifles. New machine guns were also needed with 830 5.56x45mm light machine guns and 320 7.62x51mm general purpose machine guns. Other kit includes 450 7.62x51mm precision rifles, 1,700 grenade launchers, 380 shotguns and 3,400 sights.

The programme was projected to cost up to €42.8 million ($50.3 million) with purchases due to be made by 2022. A similar announcement back in May 2017 also suggested a programme to procure over 10,000 small arms would cost €41.9 million.