Weapons: Czechs Win Pakistani 5.56mm Rifle Competition

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December 21, 2016: In late November Pakistan selected a Czech firm (Česká Zbrojovka) to provide the technology and licenses so that half million CZ806 Bren 2 assault rifles could be manufactured in Pakistan. Currently Pakistan uses locally produced Heckler & Koch G3A3 7.62×51mm rifles, Chinese Type 56 (AK-47 clone) and very small quantities of different small arms used by Special Forces.

The Czechs won a 2015-16 competition for this contract. The other finalists were the FN SCAR, Zastava M21, Beretta ARX-160/200 and Kalashnikov AK-103. The CZ-806 BREN 2 was introduced in 2015 as a new version of the CZ-805 BREN which has been used by the Czech army since 2011. The CZ-806 is upgraded version based on combat experience of Czech troops in Afghanistan. The CZ-806 is about 500 g (16 ounces) lighter than the 3.6 kg (7.9 pound) CZ-805. The CZ-086 is a lot easier to use and modular. That is the receiver/barrel assembly can easily be changed so the weapon can fire different rounds or more accurately because of a longer barrel. Moreover the rifle also features quick-change barrels, allowing to change calibers (between 5.56x45 NATO, 7.62x39 AK-47 ammunition) and barrel lengths according to the mission profile like its predecessor. This is especially interesting for Pakistani troops because they have a large stock of 7.62x39 ammunition. It should be noted that only two other competitors have this level of modularity: the Belgian FN SCAR and Italian Beretta ARX-160/200.

Another advantage the CZ-806 had was lower cost than both Western competitors while the Serbian and Russian weapons were not that big improvement over existing Chinese AK-47 copies widely used by Pakistani forces. The contract terms will apparently be similar to the current G3 license agreement. Thus the Czechs would first supply Pakistanis with parts kits for assembly and then later would come the needed know-how to allow for local production of components. If this deal is completed (nothing is certain with the Pakistanis) then it will become one of the biggest export contacts ever for a Czech small arms firm. -- Przemysław Juraszek

 


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