10 Desember 2015
LMT MARS-L rifle (image : RadioNZ)
Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee today announced that Cabinet has approved the purchase of new rifles to re-equip the Defence Force, 28 years after the Steyr 5.56mm rifle was introduced.
The new rifle is manufactured by Lewis Machine and Tools (LMT) in the United States.
“The LMT is a combat-proven rifle that has seen service in the most arduous conditions,” Mr Brownlee says.
“It gives our personnel a weapon they can rely on in any situation,” Mr Brownlee says.
The new rifle is the heart of a weapons system that includes (for those soldiers that require it) advanced optical day and night sights, a detachable grenade launcher and other ancillaries such as combat torches, laser sights, and sound suppressors. The overall system is called the Modular Assault Rifle System – Light (MARS-L).
“Our personnel operate by day and night in conditions ranging from the jungle, to deserts, to built-up areas. The new rifle has an open architecture that allows it to mount different sights and other equipment depending on the operational situation.
“It can be adjusted to fit the user and incorporates the latest technology in a light, simple and robust package,” Mr Brownlee says.
The LMT was selected from eight contenders after a thorough evaluation that included technical examinations and extensive live firing. Personnel from all three services were involved.
“This weapon has excellent performance and was preferred by personnel,” Mr Brownlee says.
“Perhaps the strongest endorsement is that our own Special Forces will also use the LMT. Previously, they have used different rifles to the Army. They observed the trials carefully, and liked what they saw.
“We want all our personnel to have tools they need and the MARS-L system is just such a weapon.”