Following on from their recent procurement of .50 calibre heavy machine guns and 5.56x45mm FN Minimi’s to supplement their FN MAGs, the Norwegian Army is now seeking a ‘light weight machine gun’ in 7.62x51mm. An initial batch of 1,000 7.62 light machine guns is sought with the option of upping this order up to 4,000 to enable Norway to re-equip its Home Guard or Heimevernet units.
Norwegian engineering magazine Teknisk Ukeblad (TU) report that Norway’s military is seeking submissions in September with trials to begin early in 2020, with an award before the end of the year. Norway’s last major light machine gun purchase was for a further 1,900 FN Minimis back in 2010.
TU also report that the Norwegian defence procurement department also ordered a further 11,000 HK416 rifles from Heckler & Koch late last year. 7,000 of these rifles will be used to re-equip Home Guard units. Additionally, last February Norway launched the search for new .50 BMG Heavy Machine Guns, and TFB reported at the beginning of this year that US Ordnance had won the contract to provide the M2A2N. US Ordnance will provide 1,300 M2A2Ns.
The two primary candidates for Norway’s new 7.62x51mm lightweight machine gun are the FN Minimi Mk3 in 7.62 and US Ordnance’s M60E6. Both companies have done business with Norway in the past which may influence the procurement decision. The M60E6 from US Ordnance is currently in service with one of Norway’s neighbours Denmark. The FN Minimi in 7.62 is proving increasingly popular with many being purchased as urgent operation requirements and seeing service with Spain, France and even German forces. It offers greater firepower in a smaller, lighter package than the company’s venerable GPMG, the MAG. Norway is looking to spend between 100-700 million Norwegian Krone (or around $11.2-78 million) on the procurement with the first batch to include at least 250 weapons.