NATO allies Portugal and Turkey are moving forward with plans to replace their aging Heckler & Koch G3 rifles with more modern weapons. Officials in Portugal announced last month they have inked a deal with Belgian-based FN Herstal to provide SCAR rifles and MINIMI machine guns as new standard issue weapons for the Portuguese Army.
According to Jane’s 360, the multi-year deal will include 11,000 5.56 mm SCAR-L STD rifles with 14.5-inch barrels, 300 7.62 mm SCAR-H rifles, 450 7.62 mm SCAR-H PR precision rifles, 850 5.56 mm Minimi Mk3 light machine guns and 320 7.62 mm Minimi Mk3 light machine guns. Included with the program will be 1,700 FN40GL 40 mm grenade launchers to be fitted on selected SCARs.
In Turkey, local firearms powerhouse MKEK is progressing with an effort to field their new MPT-76 national infantry rifle. A 7.62x51mm gas-operated select-fire rifle with a rotary bolt, the Turkish Army began ordering the gun in 2014 and so far have delivered more than 25,000 to replace locally-produced HK G3 variants, also made by MKEK.
Janes 360 reported last week the state-owned gun maker just received another 50,000 rifle order.
Of note, the MKEK also exports a number of roller-locked rifles and pistols to the U.S., notably through Zenith Firearms.