France Orders Sniper Rifles from Belgium’s FN Herstal
(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Dec. 31, 2019)
PARIS --- Belgium’s Fabrique Nationale Herstal, jointly with subcontractor OIP, have won an order from the French Army for up to 2,600 SCAR semi-automatic sniper rifles, the Belgian daily La Libre Belgique reported Dec. 26.

Liège-based FN Herstal won an international tender for the delivery of the Fusil Semi-Automatique de Précision (FPSA, or Semi-Automatic Precision Rifles) and their optics. The company has offered its SCAR-H PR (Precision Rifle), a specialized and larger caliber version of the SCAR assault rifle. FN Herstal partnered for this contract the Flemish company OIP Sensor Systems, based in Oudenaarde, which provides optical and aiming systems. The weapon will be used by the marksmen in the infantry sections of the French Army.

The contract’s value is not known, La Libre reported, but it is generally accepted that such rifles cost about 5,000 to 6,000 euros each. A night sight system is significantly more expensive.

"The Directorate General of French Armaments had set several conditions to participate in the procedure."

The decision of the French General Directorate of Armament (DGA) in favor of SCAR is a happy surprise for the Liège group, which three years ago lost the competition to replace the French Army’s standard assault rifle, FAMAS. Significantly bigger, that contract, valued at around 300 million euros over 15 years for 90,000 weapons, was awarded in September 2016 to the German company Heckler und Koch. Many specialists therefore expected DGA to again prefer the German manufacturer.

Designed at the request of the US special forces, the SCAR (Special operations Combat Assault Rifle) has also been adopted by Belgium, Portugal and other European countries. It is available in two calibers and several versions.

Even if the market for the FPSA remains modest, it nonetheless constitutes a good benchmark for FN Herstal, given the standing of the French army around the world.

"FN Herstal will participate in the Leclerc tank renovation program, by providing light remote-controlled turrets."

Owned by the Walloon Region, the Herstal group includes a defense and security division (FN Herstal) and a hunting and shooting division (Browning and Winchester brands). In 2018, the group recorded sales of 828.9 million euros, and posted a consolidated net profit of 59.4 million euros.

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