The MoD have issued a contract to FN Herstal SA
Machine guns. The International Guns, Missiles and Rockets team, part of the UK Ministry of Defence, intends to place a 5 year contract (with the option to extend for a further period of 5 years) with FN Herstal S.A. for the provision of in-service support for the m3m machine gun system (the ‘System’) including design custodian services, routine technical support, fault investigation analysis, specialist technical support, modifications, technical publications procurement, procurement of the machine gun system and spares, specialist ad hoc tasking service, repairs and training. The System is the current UK in-service machine gun used on a wide range of rotary wing platforms
The M3M is widely used on helicopters and known in the US as the GAU-21. It is a development of the well-known M2 with a greater rate of fire, lower weight and improved accuracy. In addition to the gun itself, the system also includes a ‘soft mount’ and cradle. In comparison to the M2 is fires from an open bolt, has an internal recoil spring and the barrel has a much greater life.
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Although the award note says it is mounted on a ‘wide range of rotary wing platforms’ that is correct if one’s definition of wide range is Lynx/Wildcat and Merlin. It would be great to see them fitted to Chinook and Puma and perhaps utilisation in the ground role