The Norwegian Ministry of Defense has awarded a contract to Belgian firearms manufacturer FN Herstal for the production and delivery of up to 4,000 7.62x51mm NATO caliber FN Minimi Mk3 (3rd generation) light machine guns.
According to the company, it had to compete against three American suppliers, undergoing a series of technical evaluations and commercial negotiations with Norway before sealing the deal.
“The Norwegian decision is yet more proof of the trust placed in FN Herstal by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence.” the Belgian firm said in a press release. “It also marks a new major success for FN Herstal on several levels. Not only due to its size, but also because it confirms FN Herstal’s leadership as the partner of choice for European and NATO armed forces.”
In addition to producing the light machine guns, Norway is also tapping FN Herstal for maintenance and support equipment over the next 20 years.
About FN Minimi Mk3 Light Machine Guns
First introduced in the late 1970s, the FN Minimi is a Belgian-made light machine gun available in 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers. It is equipped with two massive locking lugs and uses a gas-actuated long-stroke piston system.
The FN Minimi Mk3 is an upgraded variant of the standard Minimi. It has an ergonomic buttstock that can be adjusted to work well with body armor and other load-bearing equipment.
The Mk3 version also has an ergonomic cocking handle that provides a soldier with a better grip, even if they use their weaker hand. Users can also attach a heat shield to reduce the risk of inadvertently touching the barrel.
At present, the gun is used by security and military forces of around 75 countries. It is also manufactured under license in Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Indonesia, Greece, Switzerland, and Sweden.