The Canadian Minister of National Defence (Ministre de la Défense nationale) is buying a little more than 3,600 C6A1 FLEX general purpose machine guns from Colt Canada to replace C6 general-purpose machine gun. An earlier batch of new machine guns have already been delivered to some of the troops, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan announced on 24 January. The C6 (local designation of the Belgian FN MAG) was first used in Canada for use as a coaxial MG in the Leopard C1 main battle tank. Since then, it has been used in the Canadian Forces with the designation the C6 GPMG, it is used primarily as a platoon level support weapon.
The new C6A1 FLEX (flexible) is an improved version of C6 7.62x51mm NATO general-purpose machine gun design manufactured at Colt Canada of Kitchener, Ontario. Improvements include polymer buttstock, M1913 picatinny rails, and adjustable gas tube regulators. One of the reasons for replacement was that wooden stocks are much harder to decontaminate in case of a nuclear, chemical or biological attack than the ones made from synthetic materials. The new C6A1 FLEX is designed to be carried by soldiers or attached to vehicles such as the new Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle. Additionally, soldiers will be able to attach pointing devices and optical sighting systems to the new weapon to help increase their operational effectiveness.
The first deliveries of the new general-purpose machine guns are anticipated for late-2020, with final deliveries anticipated in 2023. The $96.97 million contract was awarded under the Munitions Supply Program administered by Public Services and Procurement Canada. As member of Canada’s Munitions Supply Program (MSP), Colt Canada has supplied quality small arms weapons systems and support for Canadian Minister of National Defence’s entire fleet. Utilizing the Technical Data Package provided under license from Fabrique National Hestal Belgium to the Government of Canada, Colt Canada has provided full support of the current C6 fleet since 1976. All of the engineering, tooling and testing was conducted at Colt Canada’s Kitchener facility.
Colt Canada (formerly called Diemaco) is a firearms manufacturer owned by United States-based Colt and located in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. The company is a defence contractor that manufactures and supplies small arms to the Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian law enforcement agencies, and Canadian civilian shooters, as well as defence research & development, training, logistic support, repair and overhaul. In addition, the company exports firearms internationally. Known foreign customers include Norway, Denmark and The Netherlands. The company’s main products are the C7 rifle and derivatives which are manufactured under a licence of Colt Defense USA, and the EAGLE side-loading 40mm LV grenade launcher.