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 FN MINIMI 7.62 light machine guns. The Defence Materiel Agency under the Ministry of National Defence signed a 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 first part of the acquired FN MINIMI 7.62 light machine gun 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 light machine gun among the Western militaries. Lithuania has historical ties with the Belgian firearm manufacturer FN Herstal. 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.
The FN Minimi (short for French: Mini Mitrailleuse; “mini machine gun”) is a Belgian 5.56mm light machine gun/squad automatic weapon developed by Ernest Vervier for FN Herstal. Introduced in the late 1970s, it is in service in more than 75 countries. The weapon is manufactured at the FN facility in Herstal and their U.S. subsidiary FN Manufacturing LLC. In November 2013, FN Herstal unveiled the improved Mk3 version of the Minimi light machine gun. The upgrades were based on operational experience and user feedback over the past 10–15 years. It can be converted to fire either 5.56×45mm or 7.62×51mm rounds.
The stock is 5-position adjustable that is also adjustable for cheek rest height with a folding shoulder rest and hydraulic buffer. The feed tray has retaining pawls to hold ammunition from the belt in place while loading. The handguard has three forward picatinny rails. A new bipod is 3-position height adjustable and seamlessly integrates into the shape of the handguard when folded back regardless of accessories that may be attached. Others features include a more ergonomic cocking handle and an optional heat shield, enabled by an added on long pin. Users that already have Minimi machine guns can partially or completely upgrade their existing weapons with the Mk3 features.