The Belgian Council of Ministers approved last week the launch of a public tender for the acquisition of 243 heavy machine guns, the second purchase of its kind in a year, without specifying how much the tender is worth.
Armyrecognition.com notes that this tender will be concluded via a negotiated procedure without advertising, on a proposal from the Minister of Defense Philippe Goffin, which implies that it will be awarded to FN Herstal, a traditional Belgian defense supplier for this kind of weaponry. "As part of the 2030 strategic vision, Defense continues to use the .50 machine-gun as a dismounted infantry machine gun as well as onboard vehicles and ships. The current .50 M2 dates from the period immediately after the Second World War and repairs have become difficult and costly", the government said.
Last April, the Defense Ministry had already been authorized to acquire 159 M3M Heavy Machine Guns (.50, or 12.7mm) manufactured by FN Herstal to equip the new Light Troop Transport Vehicle built by the English company Jankel on Mercedes Unimog chassis which will be provided to the Belgian army Special Forces and para-commando units.