The Belgian Council of Ministers (Conseil des ministres) approved last week the launch of a public tender for the acquisition of 243 heavy machine guns, the second purchase of its kind in a year, without specifying how much the tender is worth. ArmyRecognition.com reported that this tender will be concluded via a negotiated procedure without advertising, on a proposal from the Minister of Defense Philippe Goffin, which implies that it will be awarded to FN Herstal. As part of the 2030 strategic vision, Defense continues to use the .50 machine-gun as a dismounted infantry machine gun as well as onboard vehicles and ships.
The M2 machine gun or Browning .50 caliber machine gun is a heavy machine gun designed toward the end of World War I by John Browning. Its design is similar to Browning’s earlier M1919 Browning machine gun, which was chambered for the .30-06 cartridge. The M2 uses the much larger and much more powerful .50 BMG cartridge, which was developed alongside and takes its name from the gun itself (BMG standing for Browning machine gun). It has been referred to as “Ma Deuce”, in reference to its M2 nomenclature. It is effective against infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles and boats, light fortifications and low-flying aircraft.
The current M2HB is manufactured in the U.S. by General Dynamics and U.S. Ordnance for use by the U.S. government, and for allies via Foreign Military Sales, as well as by foreign manufacturers such as FN Herstal. FN Herstal (Fabrique Nationale) has manufactured the M2 machine gun since the 1930s. FN Herstal, the original manufacturer of the Quick Change Barrel (QCB) version Browning M2HB .50 cal. The FN® QCB configuration retains the reliability and effectiveness that have won the M2HB an undisputed reputation as the finest heavy machine gun ever made. The FN® M2HB-QCB makes the barrel change procedure faster, easier, and safe.