A Request for Tender for the provision of contemporary individual weapons, necessary training, and associated support to the NZDF closed on 12 November 2014. Following the evaluation of the tender responses, the companies listed below were selected for the trials programme phase of the evaluation, which was undertaken between 2 March and 1 June 2015.
The following companies were selected for the Individual Weapon trials phase:
- Beretta New Zealand Limited
- Česká zbrojovka a.s.
- Colt Canada Corporation
- FN HERSTAL
- STEYR MANNLICHER GmbH
- XTEK Limited (Sig Sauer)
- Heckler & Kock GmbH
- Lewis Machine & Tools Co Inc
Following the trials programme phase of the evaluation of tenders, the Ministry has selected Lewis Machine & Tool Co Inc of the USA as preferred Tenderer. Subject to the Ministry undertaking a Due Dilligence activity and negotiation of a contract package, New Zealand Government approval will be sought to proceed to award of a contract.
LMT already supply the Designated Marksman Rifle, a 7.62mm AR platform rifle, selected in 2012.
This is a good development as the AR platform is far more versatile that the Steyr AUG platform and the NZ Army armourers will be very familiar with the capabilities of the rifle. The Aussies though have continued with their developments with a move toward the EF88/F90 variant.
The new rifle is expected to be introduced into service by 2016-17. LMT offer choices in gas/direct or piston impingement on the bolt carrier…piston would be my preference.
No specification details of the exact LMT rifle are available yet.