The New Zealand Army has been looking to replace their aging Steyr AUG rifles for some time. The New Zealand Ministry of Defense held trials to select a successor, competing in which were Beretta, CZ, Colt Canada, FNH, Steyr, SIG, H&K, and LMT. It was recently announced by the NZ MoD that Lewis Machine & Tool was selected as the winner – though what rifle they submitted was not mentioned:
A Request for Tender for the provision of contemporary individual weapons, necessary training, and associated support to the NZDF closed on 12 November 2014. Following the evaluation of the tender responses, the companies listed below were selected for the trials programme phase of the evaluation, which was undertaken between 2 March and 1 June 2015.
The following companies were selected for the Individual Weapon trials phase:
- Beretta New Zealand Limited
- Česká zbrojovka a.s.
- Colt Canada Corporation
- FN HERSTAL
- STEYR MANNLICHER GmbH
- XTEK Limited (Sig Sauer)
- Heckler & Kock GmbH
- Lewis Machine & Tools Co Inc
Following the trials programme phase of the evaluation of tenders, the Ministry has selected Lewis Machine & Tool Co Inc of the USA as preferred Tenderer. Subject to the Ministry undertaking a Due Dilligence activity and negotiation of a contract package, New Zealand Government approval will be sought to proceed to award of a contract.
The New Zealand Army recently ordered a 7.62mm LMT rifle very similar to the L129A1 in use with the British Army, so this may have been a factor in the company’s selection for the new NZ Individual Weapon. Conspicuously, the New Zealand Army expressed no preference for a bullpup platform.
Read more at The Firearm Blog
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