The French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) will be replacing their existing AN F1 machine guns with over 10,000 FN MAG (Mitrailleuse d’Appui Général or General Purpose Machine Gun) machine guns from Belgium’s FN Herstal. The French army made their decision to go with the FN MAGs after a series of demanding international competitions held throughout December 2010.
These multi-use little giants have seen action since the 50s, most recently in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, and have found a home with the military forces of over 80 countries. Three models dominate the line, the standard being a heavy infantry Model 60-20 machine gun. The Model 60-40 is a coaxial machine gun specifically for armored fighting vehicles (and the variety expected to comprise the bulk of the French order) and the Model 60-30 aircraft variant, all of which are chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO. Air cooled and gas operated, each model feeds a number of belt designs.
The forthcoming FN MAG machine guns will be mounted on a sundry of vehicles already seeing service with the French army. Additionally “transformation kits” (also supplied in the contract) can be used to expeditiously convert the MAGs to dismounted weapons.
An order for the first 500 units has already been placed by the DGA for delivery in 2011. View FN’s press release here.