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Germany, Belgium to Compete for the Right to Equip French Army

© REUTERS / PHILIPPE WOJAZERFrench army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris.
French army paratroopers patrol near the Eiffel tower in Paris. - Sputnik International
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Germans and Belgians will compete for the right to equip the French army. By the end of the year, the French Defense Ministry will officially announce which weapon will replace the FAMAS assault rifle that has been used by the French army since 1977, French web portal Les Sentinelles reported.

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The FAMAS production was suspended in the 1990s when the army's needs were met. It was too expensive to keep large plants without regular release of mass production.

Now France has simply no alternative to replace aging rifles and has to rely on its European partners. The revival of domestic production seems to make no sense as the manufacturing process takes place in large state concerns, designed for mass production.

According to the web portal, significant investments in the development of new machines logically demand mass sales, but in the case of France they are unlikely, as the needs of domestic security forces will be met in a year or two, and the global market is steadily being flooded by new products anyway.

Therefore, France will have to choose among the weapons produced by companies overseas.

Earlier, the French procurement agency (the DGA) initiated a tender for assault rifles, chambered in 5.56 mm x 45 NATO ammunition.

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Five companies took part in the tender for the purchase of the first 100,000 rifles: Heckler & Koch (Germany), FN Herstal (Belgium), Beretta (Italy), Swiss Arms (Switzerland) and HS Produkt (Croatia).

Last week two finalists were announced: automatic rifle Heckler & Koch HK416 and the Belgian FN SCAR. The final decision is expected to be made by the French military over the course of the month.

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