FN MINIMI 7.62mm Mk3 (FN Herstal)
Lithuania’s Defence Materiel Agency has selected FN’s 7.62x51mm Minimi Mk3 to replace the KSP-58 (and other FN MAG variants) and MG3s currently in service. The same announcement stated that a new order for Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle ammunition had been made.
The contract for the Mk3 Minimis is set to cost 34 million Euros ($35.8 million). It will include spare barrels, cleaning kits and other accessories. The move away from a dedicated general-purpose machine gun towards a lighter gun is interesting. While the 7.62mm Minimi Mk3s might not have the same sustained fire capability or parts service life they offer a lighter weapon which Lithuania apparently feel fits better with their mechanised and light infantry doctrines.
A tender for a similar value for the supply of 3,000 7.62x51mm machine guns was released back in 2021. IWI with the Negev, FN Herstal and Heckler & Koch with the MG5 are believed to have bid.
Here’s the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence’s announcement in full:
The Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of National Defence carries out acquisition of vital weaponry and ammunition in pursuit of strengthened Lithuanian defence capabilities and investment in Lithuanian Armed Forces stocks, the latest acquisition being a new batch of munitions for the Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle and FN MINIMI 7.62 light machine guns.
The Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of National Defence signed an FN MINIMI 7.62 acquisition contract with Belgian manufacturer FN Herstal, S.A., last month. The contract encompasses 7.62×51 mm FN Minimi MK 3 light machine guns with spare barrels, cleaning kits, belt and sling bags for approx. EUR 34 million.
The FN MINIMI 7.62 light machine gun is a lighter and more advanced model that the KSP-58, FN MAG, and the MG3 currently in use in the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The acquisition will and mobility and effectiveness to Land Force personnel. Moreover, the machine gun is operated by one servicemember as opposed to the two required by the dated KSP-58s. The MINIMI 7.62 system has optical attachments available to maximize fire accuracy and effectiveness even during the dark part of the day.
The first part of the acquired MINIMI 7.67 batch will be delivered to Lithuania still this year. This is the first time Lithuania procures the system widely used by NATO member states and the most popular 7,62×51 mm machine gun among the Western militaries.
Lithuania has historical ties with the Belgian manufacturer. The Lithuanian Armed Forces was armed with the Mauser K98 carbines and Browning pistols of the Belgian making with the Pillars of Gediminids insignia on them during the interwar period.
In January the Defence Materiel Agency under the MoD placed an order with the Swedish manufacturer Saab Dynamics AB for different types of Carl-Gustaf anti-tank weapon ammunition on the basis of a long-term contract signed in late 2021. Together with Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania is party to the long-term contract and has the opportunity to acquire Carl-Gustaf ammunition of different purposes for best prices and on best conditions. The contract spans 7 years which Lithuania plans to use to acquire up to 60 million worth of Carl-Gustaf ammunition. The batch ordered this year will arrive at the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 2024-2025. Combat proven ammunition of the Carl-Gustaf antitank system known for its high efficiency is used for unit maneuver support and effective neutralization of armored vehicles.
TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor
Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.
Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.
Reach Matt at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lithuania To Replace Its Machine Guns with the FN 7.62mm Minimi Mk3 -
Lithuania's Defence Materiel Agency has selected FN's 7.62x51mm Minimi Mk3 to replace the KSP-58 (and other FN MAG variants) and MG3s currently in service.