Colt Canada has received a contract from the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) to replace the Canadian Ranger’s Lee Enfield rifle.
The $1.5m contract will enable the Canadian Rangers to evaluate the new rifle design this year, and award a second contract to Colt for the production of 6,500 rifles.
Production of the rifles is expected to support the existing 90 jobs at Colt Canada and create approximately 30 jobs in the Kitchener-Waterloo region.
Canada launched a request for proposal (RFP) for the new Ranger Rifle design in September 2014. Stoeger Canada was the successful rifle contender in the Colt Canada RFP with a customised TIKKA T3 compact tactical rifle.
Canadian Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino said: "The Canadian Rangers play a vital role in Canada’s ability to assert sovereignty in the North, and are critically important in the service they provide to the Canadian Armed Forces.
"Our government is committed to ensuring they have the tools they need, and on behalf of our government, I want to thank them for all they do to keep our borders and citizens safe and secure."
Public works and government services minister Diane Finley said: "This contract with Colt Canada will ensure that the Canadian Rangers get the equipment they need to protect Canada, while creating and supporting over 120 good and high-paying jobs in the Kitchener-Waterloo region."
A derivative of the UK Army’s Lee-Metford rifle, the Enfield is a bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle.
However, the Enfields rifles are scheduled to be replaced with modern rifles that can address the Ranger’s requirements into the future.
The rifles’ replacement parts are becoming less available and are likely to become completely unavailable after 2017.
The new rifles are scheduled to be phased into service for use by the Rangers between mid-2016 and late-2019.
A sub-component of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve, the Canadian Rangers provide patrols and detachments for national-security and public-safety missions in sparsely settled northern, coastal and isolated areas of the country.
Image: Canadian Rangers with their assault rifles in Nunavut, Canada. Photo: courtesy of US Mission Canada.