FN Herstal has recently been awarded a new contract by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the supply of up to 176 MINIMI™ 7.62 light machine guns by the end of 2011.

The contract also includes optional quantities of a further 250 MINIMI 7.62 machine guns to be delivered annually over a three-year period from 2012 to 2014 should these options be exercised.

The MoD selected the machine gun manufactured by the Belgian firearms manufacturer following several months of functional testing under various environmental conditions.

The MINIMI 7.62 is lightweight (8.4kg) and can therefore be carried over rough ground and fired from standing position while providing the range and target effect of the 7.62 ammunition. The model chosen by the MoD also features a sliding buttstock for easier carriage that incorporates a hydraulic buffer for stabilised rate of fire and reduced recoil forces.

The MINIMI 7.62 machine gun offers similar ergonomics and maneuverability as the MINIMI 5.56 machine gun chambered in 5.56mmx45mm NATO calibre. The MINIMI 5.56 has already been in service in their thousands with the British Armed Forces since 2003.

Belgium-based FN Herstal is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of small calibre weapons, integrated weapon systems and associated ammunition for military and law enforcement as well as special forces operators worldwide.